Condo News print newspaper is published every other Wednesday*. It is circulated throughout Palm Beach County, from
Delray to North Palm Beach, and from Singer Island, Palm Beach and
South Palm Beach to Royal Palm Beach, in Condominium, Cooperative
and Home Owner Association Communities. For more information, or to
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* Due to the current state of
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Royce Emley, "Remembering Jerry"
Essays by ...
Geoffrey Kashdan ~
Dot Loewenstein ~
Noe Diaz ~
Tony Senzamici ~
Tina Chippas ~
IN MEMORIAM ~ Rebecca Lutto ~
8, 1922 - July 2, 2011
Stanley Shotz ~
Royce Emley, Tequesta, FL
in 1970 I had started an advertising agency in West Palm Beach and
I was very involved with the marketing of condos. I was placing
advertising for that condo they blew up last year down on Flagler
Drive, Juno by the Sea in Juno Beach, Sims Creek in Jupiter and a
host of other condos like the Trump Plaza that at the time was
called the Plaza built by Bob Armor. This guy Jerry Heacock showed
up at my office and told me he was starting a newspaper he was
going to call the Condo News and would give me some great
rates if I would advertise. Jerry was very brash, but I sensed a
warm heart behind the façade. He made it possible for my
fledgling advertising agency to do full page ads for my clients at
a great price. He did all the work including the writing and the
distribution back then. He made me look good in the eyes of my
clients and built himself a great paper well ahead of its time. At
first the main stream media scoffed at this small paper that only
did news articles on condos and thought it was only for Century
Village since it was the prominent condo in the area at the time
did business together for a few years as more and more condos were
built until I quit the business. The memory of Jerry and the
Condo News is a dim memory from another time, I retired a
decade ago and it has been over 40 years since the Condo News
came out. But when I see places like Singer Island all I can think
of is Jerry telling me how our whole economic future was going to
be based on Condos in the years to come. How true his words were.
I now go to the Condo News’ website and reminisce knowing
buried among the words, photos and electronic bytes lives the
spirit of Jerry Heacock.
Editor’s note: Jerry Heacock passed away July 20, 1998
Did I Know it was Time to Retire to Florida?
knew it was time to retire when my wife gave my favorite suit to
Goodwill and a teenager showed up at my door wearing it on Halloween
night dressed as Al Capone. I knew when I threw away my alarm clock
and let my bladder wake me up at 6am every morning.
knew when I mentioned Pearl Harbor to my Grandson and he said he had
heard of her. Didn’t she use to sing with a big band?
should have known when I discovered that the lifetime guarantees on
everything I owned had expired. I should have known when I turned on
my computer and DOS 3.5 came up as my operating system.
did start to realize after I found the kids at Burger King were
getting paid more per hour than I ever made per hour in my life. I
started to know when I had a garage sale and everything had a brand
name that no one had ever heard of.
became apparent when I remembered the corner occupied by Walgreen’s
Drugstore was on the same corner where I went to buy drugs years ago
when you didn’t need a prescription.
when I remembered milk being delivered to my front door in a bottle.
But the most obvious was when the only things my friends could talk
about every day was their bowel movements.
knew it was time to retire when the only way I could find my way
home meant I had to find Publix food store first, everyone in
Florida knows their way home from Publix.
things made it apparent when the only bird I could name was the
Early Bird or like trying to lick a stamp that is self-adhesive. But
the big one was when the can of Coffee in my kitchen cupboard was so
old I discovered it was Pre-Columbian.
I found out the house next door sold for $380,000 and I paid only
$28,000 for mine. When all I ever watched on TV was the History
channel and Turners Movie Classics.
knew it was time when my Limo driver showed up at the front door one
night in a new black suit and I thought he was the undertaker.
all those brown spots on my arms and hands would not wash off. When
I dropped off my teeth at the dentist’s office to be worked on.
When I discovered I had a key ring with over 30 keys on it and all I
really used were two.
knew it was time to retire when I ate at a fish restaurant and had a
compulsion to tell the waitress out loud that "That was the
best piece of bass I ever had in my life!"
now I live in Florida retired and wonder how I got here!
What makes me happy? What being happy means to me: The word
happiness to me requires more than a simple answer. What once made
me happy instantaneously or long lasting, as I analyze the source
of being happy, were made up of very diverse situations. As a
young child I received instant gratification which at that moment
in time made me happy. For example a new toy or game, or a
chocolate ice cream soda, my "new" second hand bicycle,
hitting a "homer" in a stickball game, riding on the
"whip", "swing" and merry-go-round, that
arrived on a "Ride-Truck" on my street during
Summertime, a sweat laden Punch Ball Game, followed by the
participants cooling down at the local candy store. Most
definitely the happiest as a school-child, occurred when June 30th
arrived each year. School vacation began, and it was legend with
my folks that on that particular finality of school I would
announce: " I am so happy that I could jump up to the
sky". But I as most children too soon realize, happiness isn’t
an unending state of lasting euphoria. The once new toy or game
wasn’t thrilling after a while and in fact was tossed aside
replaced with a desire anticipating the next new exciting gift.
The delicious chocolate ice cream soda sipped by straw down to the
bottom of the vase-like glass , disappeared too quickly and was
gone together with the satisfaction it brought while it lasted.
Striking out next time at bat in the stickball game immediately
took the thrill of the "home run" that preceded it. The
truck rides lasted but for a short time, until Summer was over
along with the enjoyment they brought. July and August sneaked up
to a sudden realization that Labor Day was approaching fast and
that the feeling of joy as if I was walking on a cloud, would soon
turn into a source of preoccupation of going back to school. Why
you may wonder, or already have guessed … that my wonderful
school- free days. And the fun Summertime brought, was fleeting
too quickly, and you know how "time flies" when you are
having a good time. While the dreaded specter of the end of this
most joyous season was coming to an end, and being reinforced by
the reminder as the "back to school" sales were
advertised in August, was enough to put any kid into a funk
the years came and went so did the sources of happiness arise and
wane. Appropriately the Summer vacations were now replaced by time
off from a job, the bicycles now were replaced by the joy of
purchasing a new car, I still enjoyed then and do now love
chocolate ice cream sodas, but the street games were left for the
next generation to enjoy. As an adult the world opened up to new
vistas of happiness to explore and find the joys that life offers.
Happy times, being in love, marriage, the birth of each one of my
three sons, observing their childhood and their becoming
successful adults, creating their own families, which brought me
the greatest joy and happiness in my life, when they presented me
with each one of my two grandsons and two granddaughters.
as I share my life with Maddy, looking back on 52 years of
marriage, I find a great deal of happiness in the accomplishments
that Maddy and I having created in what I consider our own
dynasty. Of course along the way there were tears of joy as well
as tears of sadness. We both comforted each other when there was a
miscarriage, when illness struck, and when we lost our parents.
Looking back for the most part though, the happiness of our years
together overshadowed the sad times 1000 fold.
and subsequently relocating to Florida, and living here, has
provided my most recent perception of what happiness means to me.
being a child or an adult a myriad of sources of being happy can
be fleeting or last a lifetime. Too numerous and obviously almost
if not impossible to hone in on. What makes me happy comes from
what I consider my success, contentment, fulfillment,
satisfaction, security, serenity, relatively good health, A low
PSA, together with a clean bill of health after my last Doctor
visit, accepting what being relatively perceived by fellow
residents as a "kid" in Covered Bridge, but in reality
an older man of 75 years of age. Finally finding the time and
freedom to pursue and express my own suppressed desires, be it
singing, or writing. Observing my progeny being my children and
grandchildren, hot pastrami on rye sandwiches from the a local
deli, my wife of 52 years, residing in South Florida, particularly
in Covered Bridge. … I would say that I can best describe
HAPPINESS being in a "good place in life" …….in
essence a happy State Of Mind!
to the Condo News
published in the Condo News on Dec. 30, 1999
me, it was a day no different than any other day. There was
breakfast to make and a work day to face. It was a day in which
the routines of my life carried me from place to place with little
thought. Predictable sameness. Perhaps that is why I forgot.
day, you see, marked a major event in my life and in the lives of
all of the members of my family. That day was the anniversary of
the death of my father. It was my father’s Yahrzeit. Although I
had forgotten, forgetting that Yahrzeit was something my mother
could never do. "Fifty-two years with a man; you don’t
forget!" she would say. But forgetting stuff like that is
something I would do.
thus, the annual phone call to the errant son, "Jeff, did you
get a candle for your father’s Yahrzeit?"
I had purchased the special candle some months ago. "Yes,
Mom, of course. And I will not forget to light it." I even
made a phone call to my answering machine, "Jeff," I
ordered, "light the candle. Just do it!"
spite of everything, I forgot to light the candle until the end of
the day. Why, I wondered, am I taking part in this senseless
ceremony. I pondered on some of the many silly customs I knew from
the T.V. National Geographic specials and from my own world
travels. People do all sorts of strange things, I thought, as I
lit the candle. And now I am doing something strange myself. In
this house, with me as its sole occupant, I am lighting a candle
to a man long dead. NO one would know if I did or did not light
the candle. So, why?
Yahrzeit candle is no ordinary affair. It is the size of a juice
glass and, in fact, the glass container of the candle becomes a
juice glass in many Jewish families. Care must be taken when
purchasing the Yahrzeit candles throughout the year so that, once
the candles are melted away, the remaining glass containers will
make a matching set of juice glasses. I have always suspected that
the people who design Yahrzeit candle glasses keep in mind what
the empty glass would look like with orange juice inside instead
of a white candle. (What do you call a person who designs Yahrzeit
candle glasses — a Yahrzeit Engineer?)
from the juice-glass shape and size of the candle, the other
salient fact about this special religious artifact is that these
candles burn for up to twenty-four hours. This makes the placement
of the candle a concern. Certainly, no one should lose a house to
a Yahrzeit candle fire. That would be more than a shame; it would
as I lit my Yahrzeit candle I considered the possibility that the
heating of the glass might do damage to my table top. An easy
solution is to place it on a ceramic plate. I got one of my new
plates and placed my father’s candle on it and put the combined
candle-plate on the dining room table. I wondered if my father
would have liked the set of dishes the plate came from. I imagined
that he would. The set has a simple design and he liked simple
the lights off I let the glow illuminate the room. I had to admit,
the soft light of the candle made that table and Italian leather
chairs look so good. My father would have liked those chairs too,
and for the same reason. They were of simple design. Had he ever
seen them? Some deep thinking determined that I had no idea of
when I bought the dining room set.
I did know that my father died in 1987. 1987! Wow! Could it have
been that long ago? He’s been dead eleven years now. It just
doesn’t seem possible. My youngest daughter was only nine years
old then. I remember that he requested in his fading voice that
her photograph be placed over the face of the clock in his
hospital room. He said that he hated to lie there in bed and watch
time passing. Time, he often said, was his enemy. He felt tortured
by the hours, as well as the pain of tubes and needles. Time also
exacerbated the boredom and intensified the hopelessness. Better
to look at the picture of his smiling granddaughter. Her face
brought him the only antidote to the misery that the technology of
medical science forced him to suffer. If he had to stay alive then
he could at least find some comfort. Her picture on that clock
made the time endurable.
candle burned with a steady flame. A warm orange glow softened the
features of my dining room and eased away the flaws of scratches,
dust and smudge marks on the walls and counters. Everything had a
wondered what the candle would "do" to my patio. The
patio is my pride and joy. I spend hundreds of hours and dollars
cosseting the plants and enhancing the two fish ponds, one with a
waterfall. I took the Yahrzeit candle with its new ceramic plate
base outside. On the patio it did wonderful things to the water in
the ponds. My father would have loved this. In fact, he did love
my patio. The candle sat in the same place he sat during the last
years of his life.
mother would call me. "Jeff, would you ‘watch’ your
father? I have to go out and I can’t leave him alone... not in
his condition." I could hear the angst in her voice. His
dependency weighed heavily upon her. And I was their only child
within two thousand miles.
I replied. "I will not ‘watch’ my father. But I will
spend time with him … father-son time, man to man. If he
would like to spend time with his son, I would love to have him
you," my mother responded. "Thank you."
there, where that candle now burned, my father sat and worked on a
project I had prepared for him. When I was a small boy, he would
prepare easy wood projects for me. Now I had prepared an easy wood
project for him. He would make a tiny puppet theater for Lara, the
granddaughter whose picture helped him to cope with time in his
final days. My father, now "my son," sat where that
candle glowed and sanded the wood work for the puppet theater.
Father and son had transferred roles without a word, almost too
easily. He was so happy to make that theater for his
granddaughter. I remembered his joy. Yes, I remembered it well.
eleven years later, I sat by myself on my patio. The waterfall
made the only music I needed and that Yahrzeit candle
bathed the leaves of the garden with just enough light. I sat
there in the glow of the light and the memories, and, as in an
epiphany, I finally understood the reason for a Yahrzeit candle.
After eleven years of his absence, I had spent a quiet, simple
evening with my father. He would have loved that. He loved simple
had train tickets to head to NJ on 9/11, arriving at the station
in WPB learned the trains were going only as far as Richmond - no
explanation - and my friends drove me back home where I arrived in
time to turn on the T.V. (George) was already in NJ, and my
"diary" helped me thru the next few days, until my trip
was planned again for two days later. Here it is:
northbound from West Palm, noon Thursday, Sept. 13, 2001:
station is quite crowded, due to the absence of available
flights.Upon learning the train is already 90 minutes late, no one
complains. We start comparing our reactions to the WTC tragedy.
The most prevalent comment is that we have learned to re-order our
priorities. Things that used to seem important no longer are.
the lounge car I overhear "John" explaining to the
conductor that he had prepaid for a sleeper, and cannot understand
why one is not available now. On doctor’s orders he is taking a
train, because he had a heart attack five days earlier.
passengers detrain for the 20 minute stop, in order to view the
television in the station. No further attacks, no immediate
retaliation. All breathe a sign of relief. I’m now in my sleeper
and see "John" with wife "Mary" in the same
car. A no-show gave them the rest they needed badly. They confide
that Mary’s father had died the day after John’s heart attack.
Mary had to choose between attending the funeral or being at her
VA, 3 p.m., Friday:
note a man sitting on the platform with a red, white, and blue
ribbon on his shirt. He’s not waiting for a train, simply
grieving. The train slows as we pass the Pentagon. Most passengers
have gathered in the lounge car. Silence reigns as we pass other
Washington landmarks. There is a sudden need to exchange names and
addresses. We are no longer strangers.
NJ, 7 p.m. Friday:
husband is waiting on the platform for me. I’d been concerned
since cell phone calls were not going thru and I couldn’t reach
him. Leaving the station, we walk several blocks to the car
because there is a five block perimeter guarded by FBI and bomb
squads - quite sobering. This is the time to show support by
lighting candles. During the ride, we pass many lit candles, on
sidewalks, curbs, in front of houses. Newspapers had been saved
for me, and in one I discover a photo of our son, with his Rescue
Squad, transporting a victim.
southbound October 1st:
young man sitting in front of me is looking at newly developed
photos he took on September 9th, of the WTC, with the Statue of
Liberty in the foreground. Visiting family in Jersey City, he had
an unobstructed view of the event, but no photos of the tragedy -
"I couldn’t look."
the lounge we meet two Rescue Squad workers, returning south after
eleven days working at the WTC. Everyone wants to shake their
hands and thank them. Their response is, "The New York Fire
Department deserves all the praise, not us."
Essay by Noe Diaz
made up the word "foodie," and I suppose it’s someone
that eats and has something to say about it. You could be famous,
become famous, like Julia Childs, or obscure like your mom.
in my day, say fifty years ago, if you went out to dinner with
some frequency, you could fancy yourself a gourmet. I fell into
that delusion because of my sweet wife. Her idea of adventure was
dinner out on Sundays, driving anywhere for that divine lobster
Newburg forty miles away. I’d drive all over the county because
of her discriminating palate. I didn’t care. It was better than
dozing off on the couch.
domain was Saturday nights, a good tough guy movie, a banana
split, and a lovely wife that said love is near and getting
kind of gourmet was I? I could pronounce some French or Italian
words correctly. That kind. I could critique a place and sound as
la-de-da as anybody else. Virginia’s comments, on the other
hand, had insights about the food. She was happy, and I saw her
anew in her joy. I discovered that watching people at a dinner
table was watching them reveal themselves. They were more
interesting than the food. Famous foodies are fun to watch. Rachel
Ray looks like a small town short-order cook at a diner, but
within minutes she has a five-course meal looking so good you want
to reach into the TV for one of those plates.
there’s the know-it-all Martha Stewart. She starts in her herb
garden for the spices she’ll use, then on to a kitchen that
rivals the White House kitchen, and while dicing potatoes, gives a
scholarly dissertation on potatoes, something like this:
potato is New World. Didn’t come from Ireland; it’s the other
way around. Has far more calories than grain. Doesn’t have to be
harvested; can be left in the ground. It won’t freeze. In late
winter, when serfs were going hungry, they would dig some up and
not have to share it with the lord of the manor because he wouldn’t
know of the potatoes left in the field." She knows stuff like
that. This lady is a very fine chef and a brainiac.
Childs, with her stiff demeanor, was food royalty. She oozed with
kindness and grace and could drop names without showing off. She
did know anybody worth knowing.
of faces promote pasta sauce. The most famous and beloved is Paul
Newman. Then there’s Dom DeLuise. I think of Chef Boyardee and
macaroni and cheese. (See how insufferable I can be?) What’s the
point of all this? Sure, I have a point, and I’m getting to it.
day, my sweet wife tells me a bambino is on its way. Well, now, we’ll
need another bedroom, washer/dryer, etc. My income was maxed, so I
started moonlighting on weekends by driving an airport limousine.
the last flight arriving were two passengers needing a ride.
Heading into town, one passenger asks about the Statler Inn on the
Cornell campus. "Is it nice?" I assured him it is and
the food is quite good. "What about the street
restaurants?" he asks.
rattled off a few I knew and recommended. The other passenger now
speaks up and intones: "There are no good street restaurants
in Ithaca. None."
hear this amateur then begin to rattle off names of places I’ve
been to around the county and points beyond. I get a little tired
showing off and end with, "You think you know better, who are
name is Duncan Hines."
the ‘50s, the most respected name, the only name I knew, was
that one. Restaurateurs ached for a visit and recommendation by
this guy. If you met his approval, you could hang a shingle that
said, "Recommended by Duncan Hines." Now reservations
were necessary and well in advance. He had power of influence.
Once, he came into a restaurant, and, as usual, unannounced and
with looks unknown. He orders a salad that says "with
Roquefort cheese." But it’s not, it’s blue cheese. He
exposes this fraud in print, and almost immediately the place
have nothing more to say about food; I just eat it. I think Mr.
Hines enjoyed his ride home, and my discomfort.
by Tony Senzamici
A Product of Necessity
ancient times, there have been many, many inventions, from the wheel
to the cotton gin to computers — some out of necessity and some
for personal pleasure. But, in my opinion, no invention has been
more endearing and loving to my heart than the good old TV REMOTE.
am sure all you seniors out there remember the times when we had to
get off our duffs to adjust the sound, the contrast or color or just
to kick or slap the TV to unscramble the picture. Sometimes, that
was the only exercise we got. Fortunately, I had human remotes —
my two young sons who did that for me. But that stopped when they
got older and wiser.
am sure that the younger generation of today think that some of
these devices we have today were with us from the beginning of time
and never give it a second thought.
my home, if my wife and I are in the same room together, she is
forbidden to hold the remote because of the drastic likes and
dislikes we have on what programs to watch, but she is very
accommodating, thank God. Otherwise, there would be an attorney
admit to being a notorious, compulsive, channel surfer which drives
the wife crazy. I even surf through programs I like. I have been
known to doze off while watching TV. The wife says I even change
channels while dozing. I had to exchange remotes 3 different times
in the past because they wore out.
can watch 2 or 3 different TV programs at once by repeatedly
watching segments of each show, and enjoy them, and I can still tell
you what the programs were about from beginning to the end. The wife
just looks at me and shakes her head in disbelief.
I am on the verge of panic when I can’t find the remote because it
slipped down between the cushions on the chair, (always the wife’s
traveling long distances on my many trips up north and I have to
check into a motel, the first thing I check is the TV remote, then I
check the cleanliness of the room and toilet. I have checked out of
a few motels because of a bad remote or TV. By the way, I always
have two AA batteries with me just in case their’s are dead or
I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown while in a hospital for 4
days because of an antiquated remote and TV reception. Shouldn’t
my hospitalization plan cover that?
am thinking very seriously of having a ‘living will’ drawn up
that a universal TV remote be placed with my remains, just in case
there is a big flat screen TV on the "Other Side," with
cable, I hope.
life would be complete if a remote were to be invented that would
have the wife bring me my drinks, snacks and other "essential
services" whenever I want them. What a wonderful world this
would be, eh guys?
I get fed up with the purchases my wife makes when food shopping, so
I decided to take the bull by the horns and food shop myself and get
some items that I like. I think the wife’s criteria when she shops
is if it tastes good don’t buy it. I hate whole wheat, bran,
anything brown or bland. So off I go to show the wife a thing or two
about shopping. How hard could it be walking up and down aisles
picking items off shelves?
started with a problem right off the bat. Out of the hundreds of
shopping carts available, I pick one and find out half way through
shopping that one wheel hangs up. So, now I have to drag this thing
all through the store.
thought I was pretty sharp knowing where and what aisle my items
were in — after all, I can also read signs. But this time, a smart
aleck new manager decided he wanted to restock the store his way.
But he never changed the aisle signs. So now, I am getting
disgusted. I also have to dodge all the clerks stocking the shelves
and some shoppers driving those electric carts. So far, I am batting
1000 trying to get done as soon as possible.
thought I would try to be a frugal shopper, so I armed myself with a
fist full of coupons for almost every item in the store. I also try
to follow some shopping tips, like not shopping when you are hungry,
to avoid impulse buying and not buy items at eye level on the
shelves. So I eat before shopping and brush up on all the shopping
tips, but to no avail. Everything looked good and appetizing. My
intention was to buy only necessary items, but now my cart is so
full I need a mule to help me drag it along.
think I gained about 3 lbs. nibbling on the green seedless grapes I
I may offer some advice to any guy who wants to food shop, buy the
ice cream just before you go to check out! I was leaving a trail of
melting cherry ice cream throughout the store.
I am ready to check out, so naturally, I look for a register that
has less shoppers. I see one that has one woman with a few items in
her cart, so I jump in that lane. As luck would have, it the woman
is questioning why the cashier rang up an item for $1.98 instead of
$1.97. After 5 minutes of this, I was going to give her the freaking
penny, but that was solved. So now, she is about to be checked out
but she decides she wants a pack of cigarettes, so the cashier has
to leave the register. Yep, you guessed it, she came back with a
pack instead of a box, so off she goes again. By now, I am really
getting upset and I was about to recite a few choice adjectives
describing her, but I let it go because I should be out of here in a
couple of minutes anyway. And besides, I can’t afford money for
now, she is all rung up and her bill comes to $112.43 (this is where
I almost lost it again). She counts out $112 in bills, 4 dimes, and
now is looking for 3 pennies in a purse that looks like a miniature
suitcase. Everything she had in that purse is out on the counter. I
found myself tighting my fist and fantasizing my next move, but she
found the 3 pennies. I was wondering if she was always so exact in
everything she did.
it’s my turn to check out. So with a very cheerful hello from the
cashier I hand her my fist full of coupons. She wanted to know if I
bought all the coupon items. I said "no" she said
"pick out the coupons of the items you bought." I didn’t
realize that these damn coupons had expiration dates and you had to
buy the exact item, so of all the coupons I had, only 3 were valid.
the time I got to the register I had about ten grapes left, so I
told the cashier to charge me for the 2 lbs. She wanted to know if I
had an entree and dessert also while I shopped (smart aleck).
think the cashier was amused because she asked me if I was married.
I said, "Yes, part time." She suggested that I leave the
shopping to the wife and make it easier for all concerned.
what was supposed to take me about a half hour took me about an hour
and a half plus a lot of agitation.
have decided that next time, I will go shopping with the wife, and
when it’s time to check out, I will leave that to the wife and I
will wait in the car. Pretty sharp, eh?
years ago, I really did not give my physical or mental condition
much thought. I was in excellent condition, both body wise and
mentally, perhaps due to being in our family construction
business, and then 4 years in the Marine Corps, and then 20 +
years in the NYPD in various details requiring physical fitness.
retiring, the physical part of my life did not seem so important,
so naturally, I just took life real easy. Having started to work
at a very early age (9 years old) out of necessity and compulsion
in the family business, this seemed too good to be true — I am actually
being paid to stay home. I got a pension. WOW !!!
years started passing by quickly. I was enjoying life to the
fullest, everything was right with the world, dinners out 3 or 4
times a week, late hours out, no strings attached to anything I
wanted to do — things could not be better.
4 years into retirement, we got an invitation to a wedding, so
naturally out came the suit, sport jackets, shirts, etc.
Unfortunately, the only thing that fit me were my socks. So off we
went for new clothes. Somehow, when you buy bigger sizes, it makes
you look like you lost weight. So that problem was solved.
wife suggested that I start an exercise program but I didn’t
think it was necessary as I only gained a couple of pounds and I
could shed that in no time if I wanted to.
luck would have it, a couple of years later, we were invited to go
on a cruise with some friends. Of course, you have to have a new
wardrobe. So again, off we go for new clothes — only 1 size
this cruise, another retired friend and I discussed how much
weight we were gaining while on retirement, so we decided to start
an exercise program when we got back home as he had some equipment
in his garage.
started the program, beginning with the stationary bike,
treadmill, sit-ups and some barbells. We worked out for about 45
minutes twice a week. After about a month, we didn’t seem to
lose any weight and we thought we were wasting our time. So we
were going to quit. Unfortunately, one of our wives heard us
talking about quitting and reminded us that we should not bring a
couple of six packs of beer into the garage during the workout and
then, after we finish our workout we were not supposed to sit by
the pool pigging out drinking beer and eating sandwiches for two
hours each time.
a result we have stopped the program (just the exercise part), but
not the beer drinking and eating. The wife’s sarcasm really made
us feel bad and hurt our feelings.
now I know how hard it is to lose a couple of pounds, but I still
do not have to go to the "big man’s" shop yet for
cloths — not yet anyway.
is one good aspect to all this and it is that our Goodwill
organization that collects clothes for the needy really loves us.
Each month, they get a bag full of clothes, some with the price
tags still on them.
few weeks ago, I was being prepped for a nuclear body scan which I
should have had eight years ago but kept putting it off until my
doctor decided to put her foot down — unfortunately right on my
suppose by now you guessed what the scan is for so I won’t
elaborate, so let me clue you in on the prepping schedule.
begin with, I had to receive an injection each day for two days. I
have no idea why, so I left it up to the doctors because, even if
they told me, I wouldn’t have understood a word they said. Each
day, I had a different nurse who decided where SHE wanted to do
the injection, so being very humble and embarrassed, I humiliated
myself and submitted my tush for the first shot because the nurse
said it is important it be given there. The second shot the next
nurse said it didn’t matter so I took it in the arm. Did these
two nurses go to different schools? Did they discuss my tush ?
as my luck would have it, I had to travel to another location
because our local hospital did not have this expensive medication
I am to receive. It took only 5 minutes (including waiting time)
to get the shot and I am on my way home. I could have taken the
second shot home with me and given it to myself and saved time and
comes the fun part ... On the third day, I am to swallow a radio
active pill. The nurse comes into the room all decked out with
hazard gowns, mask, gloves and a lead container with a set of
tongs, takes out the pill and tells me to swallow it. I thought,
"Shouldn’t I be able to at least see the face that may be
doing me in? Am I going to be glowing at night like a split atom?
Will my wife still respect me in the morning if I am twinkling
like a star?"
now it is time for the SCAN. I was told to lay down on a table and
the technician wrapped me up in sheets in such a way that I could
not move my arms. After five minutes on the table I knew why. I
started to itch in places that I didn’t know I had. I remember
when I was in Marine boot camp with all the sand fleas around us.
I also remembered the Marine Corps movie "The Death of a Sand
Flea." Heaven help you if you moved to kill one and the D.I.
saw you. He would make you wish your father never met your mother.
Unfortunately, this training did not help me in this situation.
All I kept thinking was that this procedure was supposed to last
an hour and I have only been on the table for five minutes, and to
make matters worse, this is only one of three scans that I have to
was kind of thinking maybe the CIA could use this procedure
instead of "Water Boarding." I am sure it would be more
effective. I was ready to sign over our bank account, car, and any
other thing I owned if the technician would only let me scratch my
I don’t know what the results of these scans will be, but I know
one thing for sure, I won’t be doing this again, UNLESS I can
have a young student female nurse standing by next to the
apparatus who will scratch me on demand wherever or whenever I
have an itch. Life does have options!!!
am sure many of you have flown a few times to various places just
as we have, but I don’t think I will be doing that again too
usually fly an airline whose name I won’t mention but requires
you to download and print your boarding pass with a computer for
general boarding. Here’s the rub!!! There are no assigned seats,
and boarding is according to what section your boarding pass
states A, B or C. And it works like this ... you must download
your boarding pass exactly 24 hours to the second using a
confirmation number they give you when you purchase your ticket,
so if you want to board early you must do this as soon as
the day before I was to leave I was sitting in front of my PC with
all the proper data required, at the given second I pressed the
print button and I received section B 38 and my wife B 39, now off
we go to the airport the following day.
we arrived at the airport at our departure gate, the boarding sign
says that general boarding will start with section A1 to section
A60 that means that we would be the 98 and 99 person to board
according to our boarding pass, so with the plane holding 228
passengers, I thought we had a good shot to get two seats
together. Well think again, here they come, the Wheel Chair
Brigade, at least 35 wheel chairs that pre board with their fellow
travelers, so now that makes at least 70 that will pre boarding
before general boarding. But wait -- there is more. It seems that
when you purchase your ticket you can pay an extra $10 and board
with the wheel chairs and there were about 20 of them so now it is
about 188 people boarding before us.
are now ready to board and I am having doubts about getting two
seats together. Now comes the part where I almost lost my cool.
The seats are 3 abreast on each side of the plane and many of
these passengers traveling alone chose the middle seat, don’t
you think these rocket scientist airline "waitresses"
could make an announcement to single passengers to please leave
two seats abreast for passengers traveling in pairs. The seats we
were able to get were the very last seats by the toilet and as you
get to the rear of the plane, the body of the plane narrows, now I
am not the largest person, not the smallest, but I just about fit
in the seat and could just about buckle my safety belt. My wife
had to help me. I was so embarrassed.
we are underway all the wheel chair people neatly tucked in, now
the scrumptious meal was served, a very small bag of peanuts that
even a squirrel would find fault with and a small class of soda. I
knew that on my return trip I was bringing an Italian hero with
me. (Which I did.) I was also thinking of bringing some extra
sandwiches and selling them and make a few extra bucks BUT she
said NO!!!! Boy! Talk about a no frills flight. This one takes the
cake, but they will never serve it.
we were flying along the coast, I asked my wife to keep an eye on
the water below and let me know if she sees anything unusual like
the waters parting. She looked at me kind of funny so I said would
explain why at the end of the flight.
have now arrived at our destination and the "waitress"
makes an announcement that wheel chair people please remain seated
and a wheel chair will be brought to you after all other
passengers are off. Now, I don’t mean to be sacreligious, and I
know some people definitely need a wheel chair, but although I did
not see any parting of the waters below us, we must have flown
over "Holy Waters", because out of the 35 wheel chairs
that pre boarded, only 5 people remained seated. What a miracle!!!
Blind people could see, cripple people could walk, deaf people
could hear. I observed one elderly wheel chair guy actually run to
his people who were awaiting his arrival. My wife held her hand
over my mouth as we passed him. I guess she was reading my mind. I
told my wife that the next time we travel, we both will have an
assigned seat and they will be side by side in my Ford Explorer.
am sure if you are reading this article you must be living in a
retirement community, male or female, and you must all be around
the same age as me, therefore you must have undergone many tests
ordered by your doctors.
CT Scans, Pap tests, blood work, colonoscopies, and a few others
that I can’t remember.
the preparation for the test is worse that the test, such as
fasting for what seems to me like 3 weeks. In reality 4 hours.
start out with the blood work. Some of these "vampires"
are great. You can hardly tell they inserted the needle. On one
occasion at a facility that I won’t mention, the nurse stuck the
needle in at a right angle to my arm. Having had this done many
times, I knew she would not draw any blood and besides, it was
very painful. When I objected, she got nasty. I then told her to
take the needle out or I was going to punch her in the mouth.
Another nurse heard the commotion and drew blood with no problem.
time, I had to fast for two days and go for some type of X-ray,
and I was to drink some concoction the nasty little nurse gave me.
She handed me what looked like a strawberry milk shake. She then
left the room for a minute, so being half starved, I drank it all
and it tasted good, when she came back she said, "Stand
against the machine by the wall. Where is the drink I gave
you?" I told her I drank it and she got all p.o.’d because
I was supposed to sip it while she took the test, and now, she had
to make another one. I told her in no uncertain terms, "Why
the hell didn’t you tell me? I haven’t eaten in two freaking
days. And you’re pissed off?"
another occasion, I had to go for a colonoscopy at a facility
that, again, I won’t mention. Again, they starved me for 48
hours. I was like a caged animal. My wife was cowering in the
corner scared to death. I was dwindling down to 255 pounds. I
swore that after the test, I was going to go to local supermarket
and consume the first and second aisles. Comes the day of the
test, they gave me one of those freaking gowns that must have been
designed by some kind of sadist or pervert just to get his kicks.
As they wheeled me into the "procedure room," the nurse
and the doctor were having a heated argument, so I figured they
must either be married to each other or were dating. The doctor
was throwing papers around and grumbling under his breath and the
nurse was visibly upset. She then tells me to lie down on the
table in a fetal position. I then yelled "WHOA, before I do
that I want you two to kiss and make up. If this guy is going to
stick something in my body where the sun don’t shine, I want him
to have an attitude adjustment. I want him as calm as a lamb. I am
squeamish that way." A little giggle from the nurse and an
apology from the doctor calmed me down, and the test was
another time, I had a breathing problem so I had to go for another
test. First the room must have been 20 degrees below zero and all
I had on was that freaking gown with no back. Then to boot, there
were two very young technicians doing this test. They told me to
lie down on the table. They gave me a panic button and then put a
towel over my face, and in the tube I went. Then I heard them
talking about girls, dating etc., so I pressed the panic button
and out I came. I asked them do either of you A—holes know why I
am here? I HAVE A DAMN BREATHING PROBLEM AND YOU PUT A TOWEL OVER
MY FACE, AND SHOVE ME INTO A TUBE !!!! Well, that condition was
corrected. I think they were ready to call security. By the way,
before I left the hospital I had pneumonia.
often wondered why it always took forever waiting in the waiting
room to take a test so I asked a family friend who is an X-ray
technician and he said, "I get paid by the day not how many
patients I do. After two patients, I go have a cup of coffee and
work on my crossword puzzle." I can’t tell you what I told
him, but he does not consider me a family friend any more. Thank
God, he lives in another state.
thing ... heaven forbid they should help you get up off of the
know this sounds like I am a horrible patient, but I really am
not. At one time, a head nurse came in with a student nurse and
asked me if it would be okay if the student nurse gave me a shot.
I said "of course." if I know what’s coming it doesn’t
hurt. After all, they have to learn sometime and she did a good
often wonder, these technicians obviously had to have some type of
training and education to perform these tests. Would it be
possible to maybe throw in a couple of hours of compassion, or
have a few other tests scheduled and do not anticipate any
improvements in the conditions. I just am wondering how long I can
endure this stuff before I grab one of them by the neck and give
him or her a test of my own.
God help us.
don’t know how many of you have been to some kind of reunion
such as class reunion, military reunions, family reunions, and so
on, and if you did, did you have the same emotional, rude
awakening experience that I had.
first reunion I attended was for my 50th class reunion, I was so
primed up for this; I could hardly wait to see my old classmates
and recount the many stories and memories of the past, and perhaps
meet some of the girls I dated — Oh, Yeah!!!!!
the day came, I borrowed my brother’s brand new Cadillac because
I didn’t want anyone to see me driving an old Plymouth with the
faded paint job (first impression means a lot you know). My wife
and I were dressed to the nines, but she always did dress up nice
and look good. She had strict orders not to get too personal with
my past, especially telling anyone I was a cop, and if anyone
asked, I was a the big kahuna in our family’s General
Contracting Business, (it was a half truth). I figured that should
handle the success story.
entering the hotel, there was a desk in the lobby with a sign that
said "———— high school reunion, get your name tags
here and register." The women behind the desk was about my
age but about twice my size. As I was approaching the desk, she
yelled, "Tony, it’s me, Joanne," I was kind of taken
back because there was about 75 pounds of her that I did not
recognize. She used to have a body like a Greek Goddess. (We had
dated a few times while in school.) We hugged and kissed, made
some small talk, got our tags and in we went, with my wife
whispering not to put on aires and make an ass of myself.
don’t know if any of you have ever been to a nursing home, but I
thought that’s what I walked into. I was expecting to see some
of the guys and girls still slim and fit like cheerleaders and
football players. Instead, I expected a nurse was going to come
around dispensing medication from a tray. I’d never seen so many
walkers, canes, and wheelchairs in one place, although some were
still mobile they moved very, very slow, like molasses in the
winter. I don’t think there was anyone there without some kind
of medical equipment.
we walked around the room, I silently thanked God that we had name
tags, otherwise I wouldn’t have known anyone even if I tripped
over them. Surprisingly, there were many successful classmates ...
some became doctors, a few are lawyers, a lot became teachers, and
a few politicians. I started to think where would a general
contractor or a cop fit into this equation. Maybe I should have
picked a more exotic profession like a pilot or nuclear physicists
to wow them, but I don’t think my wife would have gone with it.
we continued to a walk around the room, I spotted her — Mrs.
Sternhart, my English teacher, the one that hated me the most
while in school. She made the principal’s office my home room.
She was sitting in a wheel chair in a corner of the room all
curled up. The only way I can describe her age is that she was
still old when New York was a prairie. I tried to avoid the
confrontation but she spotted me. So I thought, what the hell, let
me say hi. After all, there is no principal’s office here. She
was very cordial and she remembered me and all my antics in class,
and she elaborated on some of them, (which I can’t discus here.)
We talked for a few more minutes and I kissed her on the cheek. As
I was leaving she said, "Tony, get down to the principals
office." As she gave me a wink, I think my heart skipped a
beat. Oh, God!! How I would love to have heard that again!!!
we searched the room, each of us sought out friends and classmates
we associated with the most while in school so as to sit at the
same table for dinner, which we did. As I suspected, one loud
mouth started to expound on some of the stupid pranks I pulled in
school. No way could I shut him up short of gagging him, but I
think he saw the look on my face and stopped without even
finishing his last sentence. I was glad none of my kids or
grandkids were there to hear him.
were speeches by the once beautiful Home Coming Queen, who now
looked like Godzilla; the Class President; Student Council
President; the Valedictorian, who also used to be gorgeous but now
looks like Lassie; and, get this, the President of the Debate
Club. Does it get any better than that? Naturally, plaques were
awarded to the organizers of the affair, every one clapping and
hugging. It was making me sick. My wife looked at me with that
look in her eye and said, "Are you sure you went to this
school with these people? Did you accomplish anything in
School?" "Yeah," I said, "I had my own
we were having dinner, I whispered to my wife, "As soon as we
can, we will ditch this place." I felt like I was in Jurassic
park, the definition of OLD is right here!!!
looked like a Medicare Convention. I was thinking of organizing a
wheelchair or a walker race to liven things up, but a jab in the
ribs from the wife cancelled that idea.
we said our good-byes and we were now in the car driving home,
(and I made sure many of them saw the car) I was wondering how
anyone could let their appearance go so far down hill, with all
the education they had and the many many ways to stay fit, it
seemed irresponsible, then, after a brief period of silence, it
hit me, I began to break out into a cold sweat, my heart rate
jumped up, I was almost gasping for breath, I quickly came to my
senses, the reality of three hours of this night has finally set
in. I WAS ALSO ONE OF "THEM!"
bless and help us.
months of the legal turbulence and the media’s feeding frenzy of
THE TRIAL, I almost cheered when I clicked the remote to a dated
episode of The French Chef. There she was, all six-foot two of
her, briskly whisking up eggs, adding heavy cream, interjecting
French phrases in her warbly voice and sweeping bits of food off
the table onto the floor with aplomb. When I was young, one of my
idols wasn’t a movie star or music star or sports’ hero—it
was Julia Child. I was delighted. I hadn’t seen Julia on TV for
decades. She lobbed a sizable lump of butter into a hot pan,
watched as it melted and sizzled before pouring in the egg
mixture. Wiping her hands on her apron, Julia looked squarely into
the camera. "Fat gives things flavor," she declared.
"If you’re afraid of butter, use cream!" She exhorted
her viewers to have courage, use simple ingredients and be
creative in the kitchen. "The only real stumbling block is
fear of failure. In cooking, you’ve got to have a ‘What-the-hell
attitude,’ " she trilled. Cooking chores completed, Julia
sat down, heartily helped herself to her finished dishes and,
mouth full of food, described the flavors and textures. Julia
dishes were uncomplicated, visually enticing and, undoubtedly,
delicious. There were no microwaves, no Teflon frying pans, no
food processors in her kitchen. Julia did it all the old-fashioned
way. She demystified French cuisine reducing it to the simplest of
procedures and terms. Quiches, boeuf bourguignon, croque en bouche,
souffles, nothing was impossible because Julia said it wasn’t
(as my dog-eared copy of Julia’s Mastering the Art of
French Cooking attests). I was sorry when the
program was over. I hadn’t enjoyed any cooking program as much
as this one in a very long time. I compared Julia’s expertise,
her relaxed, comical manner and program content to current high
cuisine programming. Those are downright stressful: chefs, under
impossible time constraints, combine ingredients found mostly in
specialty markets into "concoctions." It’s all about
competitions and ratings, not the joy and rewards of fine home
looked up some interesting facts about Julia Child: from a
privileged family, she attended elite private schools, was a good
athlete with a reputation for being adventurous and a prankster.
She entered the job market, working in the advertising department
of the prestigious W. J. Sloane but not for very long. She was
fired for "gross insubordination." (Can’t you just see
Julia digging her heels in, letting chips fall where they may?) At
the outset of WWII, she was turned down for the WACs because of
her height and volunteered for the OSS, the precursor to the CIA.
Julia played a key role in the communication of top-secret
documents for the government for which she received meritorious
recognition of her service.
marriage to Paul Child took her to France where her penchant for
French cooking led her to the world-famous Cordon Bleu cooking
school. Under renowned chefs, she studied and collaborated with
two other chefs to open L’Ecole des Trois Gourmandes (The
School of Three Hearty Eaters), offering five-dollar lessons right
in her own apartment on the Left Bank. The three women authored Mastering
the Art of French Cooking and, during a United States
promotional tour, Julia demonstrated how to make an omelette on
TV. The producers were taken with her exuberance, physical
presence and culinary instructional skills. The French Chef
debuted in 1963. It had a ten-year run with reruns into 1989. She
and the show were wildly successful. And her on-camera faux pas
only endeared her more to her viewers.
she continued to break gastronomic rules and television protocol,
the irreverent, irascible Julia made the cover of Time with
the title of, "Our Lady of the Ladle." She dominated the
culinary scene for more than forty years, writing, producing,
garnering honors domestically and abroad.
a lifetime of eating fat-rich foods, red meat and drinking gin,
Julia passed away in her sleep at 91. Her last meal was French
onion soup—an ending she would probably have laughed at and
days I prefer canine companionship to that of humans. The
complexity of human associations just doesn’t exist in the
canine world. Joys are simple, wants are basic, responses are
sincere. Yup, give me a dog for a friend, any day.
poodle, Chelsea, and granddog, Miniature Pinscher Lukie, love to
travel. They’re perfect companions: no backseat driving; no
discussions on when and where to stop. They just do as bidden. At
least Chelsea does. Luke is quite another animal. Daughter has not
stressed listening skills or social graces as his horrific eating
manners will attest. Chelsea is still contemplating her dish,
daintily sniffing offerings while Lukie chomps his kibble with
gusto, licks his dish clean and eyes Chelsea’s full plate for
handouts. He is smart enough to do so from a good five feet away,
fully aware of her wrath regarding property infringement.
decided it was a good day for a trip to Peanut Island. The
Sailfish Marina Taxi waited for us as I scooped up the dogs and
loaded them on board. Chelsea obediently dropped to a sphinx-like
position next to me. Lukie refused to sit and leaned against the
guardrail. I looped my fingers through the dog’s halters and we
were off in a spray of cool water. A speedboat pulled up alongside
our boat. "HEY, POOCH," a man clicking away with camera
shouted, "OVER HERE." "Who’s he?" Lukie
asked Chelsea. "You TWIT—he’s paparazzi," she hissed
back and turned to me. "If you hadn’t sent that essay to
the Condo News, this wouldn’t be happening. We never have
any privacy any more." She tossed her fluffy red hair and
stared straight ahead, ignoring the press. Lukie hooked his front
paws over the side of the boat, big dark eyes flashing, pink
tongue a pleasant contrast to his glistening white teeth, clearly
enjoying his newly found fame. "This is so cool," he
murmured. Lukie has a tendency to mumble, a habit that annoys
Chelsea whose speech is soft but distinct.
disembarked and headed for the gazebo. Lukie stopped short,
hackles rising, as he spied what looked like "Otto," the
German shepherd from our dog park caper. If it wasn’t Otto, it
was a first cousin. Once again, Otto wasn’t leashed. His head,
almost as big as Lukie’s entire body, turned toward us. I heard
a hoarse growl and then I saw his lips quivering. Remembering my
bruises from my last encounter with Otto’s head, I herded the
dogs away, but Lukie wasn’t having any of it. He lunged for
Otto, dragging me with him. Here we go, again, I groaned, looking
frantically for Otto’s owner. Then, Chelsea took charge. She
told Otto off, using every French swear word in her vocabulary. He
cocked his head and looked at her, puzzled. A piece of red fluff,
defying him? Lukie took advantage of his adversary’s hesitation
and forged ahead, grimacing, yapping, exhibiting some fancy
footwork as he danced in a semicircle, Grandma in tow. The monster
dog lowered his head and slowly headed toward us. "Henry,
DOWN!" From a nearby yacht, a familiar-looking man in a
brightly flowered shirt put down his guitar and shouted at the
shepherd. He walked up to us. "Henry’s a bully."
"HENRY?" Lukie snickered. "With a name like that he’d
have to be a bully."
man looked at my pale face and held his hand out "I’m so
sorry. I’m Jimmy. Let me make up for Henry’s bad manners with
lunch on board?" Where had I seen Jimmy before? And then it
hit me: the paparazzi, the guitar—OMG! Mr. Margaritaville,
himself. "Love to," I responded. No one will believe
this, I thought as I handed the dogs up to Mr. Margaritaville at
the yacht. For once, Lukie’s madcap antics paid off. The little
scamp smiled at me. "Isn’t this fun, Gram?" he
tumultuous announcement by President Obama brought relief that a
monster had been slain. We felt gratitude to the heroes who
executed the mission and the monster. We felt admiration for our
president who had the intelligence, courage and tenacity to make
it all happen. Yes, we were finally satisfied Bin Laden was dead,
but not for long.
Tuesday, the rumbling had begun: scurrilous questions asked by
biased media people and politicians who should know better. Was
Bin Laden buried properly according to his religion? Why, when he
masterminded the inhumane deaths of 3,000 innocent Americans,
would that question even surface. Absurd questions from ambitious
sources: is this a ploy to avert further investigation into the
President’s citizenship? Which president should take credit for
capture: Ex-President Bush, who declared, at least twice, that he
wasn’t interested in capturing Bin Laden, or President Obama,
who made it a priority upon assuming the office of President? Was
information obtained from water-boarding responsible for locating
Bin Laden? Soon followed by attempts to credit the torture
committed during the Bush administration as a valuable method of
obtaining information. The demand for actual photographs of the
deceased began as well, without consideration of how that might
inflame Bin Laden’s supporters.
was a rush to the microphones to claim credit for Bin Laden’s
demise. Have particular politicians and certain talk show hosts
never heard of "give credit where credit is due"? Their
self-aggrandizement is a vain, ego-based behavior that becomes
increasingly obnoxious in the face of truth. Stirring up the
flames of doubt and hate surely cannot add to their credentials,
or can it? It seems this population will not accept the fact that
something good was accomplished by those they dislike so
intensely. Real facts are turned aside in order to perpetuate
their false claims and innuendos that they cling to against all
then there are the conspiracy theorists. Is Bin Laden REALLY dead?
It’s not that the conspiracy theorists believe that Bin Laden
could possibly be alive. It’s about casting doubt on the current
administration all the while giving credit to the previous one. C’mon,
folks. It can’t be both. Don’t these people realize or care
how absurd they sound?
so, the political nonsense continues to defame and detract from
the accomplishment of this incredible military operation and from
the many devoted intelligence and military personnel who gathered
and pieced together details that led to Bin Laden. When do the
detractors acknowledge the success of this operation and begin to
work in a bi-partisan manner?
be there be other monsters? Without a doubt. But for now, let’s
just say, "AMEN!" to the completion of this mission and
stop the partisan nonsense. Let’s concentrate on making this
nation great again, not tearing it down.
week, Jews will observe Passover as a symbol of freedom over
oppression. At Passover, the events that surround the Jews’
exodus from Egypt are marked and recreated. In remembering the
plight and redemption of the Jews, Passover celebrates freedom for
week, also, after Passover, Christians will celebrate Easter which
proclaims the triumph of life over death — Christ’s
resurrection symbolizes eternal life to all who believe in him.
Eastern Orthodox Christian, my Easter always comes after Passover.
Even as a young child, I felt there was a connection between
Easter and Passover. I knew that the first Easter happened at
Passover. I found the Passover-Paschal connection intriguing. I
learned of other connections between the two holidays or
religions. The most significant correlation between Passover and
Easter is that Jesus was crucified on Passover. When Jesus ate the
last supper with His disciples, religious scholars have stated
they were eating the Passover meal. In fact, they conclude, Jesus’
last supper was a Passover Seder because as a Jew, Jesus was
obligated to participate in a seder and many Jews went to
Jerusalem for that purpose.
Amir, an acclaimed journalist, motivational speaker and
Kabbalistic-conscious creation coach, offers the following as
further evidence of the last supper as a seder: "Many
Christian churches have instituted a seder before Easter Sunday as
part of their Easter celebrations. This observance is called
Maundy Thursday, Holy Thursday or Great Thursday. Those Christians
who believe Passover was the last supper cite Luke 22:15, in which
Jesus says, ‘With fervent desire I have desired to eat this
Passover with you before I suffer.’ Mark 14:12 echoes this with
the comment, ‘And on the first day of the Unleavened Bread, when
the Passover [lamb] was being sacrificed, his disciples said to
him [Jesus], ‘Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to
eat the Passover?’"
Amir, further states: "Second, just as Jesus’ crucifixion
and resurrection led to the start of Christianity, the Israelites’
liberation from Egypt led to the beginning of Judaism. It wasn’t
until the Jews had crossed the Red Sea that they became a nation
unto themselves. This freedom and nationhood led them to enter
into the covenant with God at Mt. Sinai, which marked the
beginning of Judaism. Prior to Jesus’ crucifixion and
resurrection, he was a Jew and his followers were Jews. Upon his
death, his teachings became the basis for Christianity. His
resurrection and ascension, as well as the miracles he performed
during his lifetime, caused him to be named posthumously as the
‘Christ.’ Thus, Christianity was born.
"Third, both Easter and Passover revolve around the idea of
rebirth. Jesus is resurrected, or born again, and the slaves are
reborn into freedom. Both holidays draw in the idea of birth or
rebirth with Easter eggs and the hard-boiled eggs served on
Passover." And to further correlate, Easter is also sometimes
referred to as Pascha, a word that appears in both Latin
and Greek but comes from the Hebrew Pesah, or Passover.
faiths? Yes, but Easter and Passover share a common origin, shared
traditions and common themes as well, like courage, faith, freedom
and love — qualities and ideals much needed in our world today
no matter the religion.
Passover and Happy Easter!
Like Hugging a Rainbow"
can remember when turning on the TV was sure to bring pleasurable
moments of entertainment and the news wasn’t all bad. In those
early days of television, the family would gather around the set
to watch Milton Berle’s ridiculous capers, Steve Allen’s
brilliant sketches, and Walter Cronkite’s measured, thoughtful
reporting. His tag line of, "And that’s the way it
is," gave his viewers a reassurance of factual authority.
That was great viewing and a long time ago, but last week, I,
again, felt the thrill of good television programming.
COMING HOME is another reality show but this one pays
tribute to those who silently serve their country. I wasn’t
prepared to be so touched or shed tears watching currently active
members of all five branches of military return to their loved
ones in surprise reunions. Not a new theme, certainly, but the
show uncovers the difficulties of military family life, the
sacrifices made not just by those who serve our country but their
families as well. So evident is the anxiety of knowing their loved
ones are in the path of danger and death in what seems like
endless conflicts; conflicts with no apparent resolutions, what
Norman Solomon, author of War Made Easy, terms as
it is the children who are most affected. The constant uncertainty
and biting absence of a loved one in military conflict are more
than any child should have to bear. I defy anyone seeing the
videos of the children in COMING HOME not to see their
courage and bravery in living without their parents — parents in
combat — not knowing if they will see them again. The difficulty
of being a child in a military family is clearly obvious and
program I watched featured a bright and articulate girl of twelve,
Holly Hughes, a budding violinist. With a maturity that belies her
young years, during an interview she was matter-of-fact about her
father’s deployment. And then the heart-stopping moment with her
father’s surprise appearance after her violin solo at a concert:
the incredulity on her face, her joyous reaction, a demonstration
of the extent of this child’s sacrifice of her father to the
cause of protecting our country. She was asked what it was like
having her father home again. Through her tears, her face lit up.
"It’s like hugging a rainbow," she said, happily.
in paradise, wars are far away. Another perfect day: the ocean is
blue; the sun is shining. And then we turn on the TV and witness
rampant devastation in a troubled world. We can turn off the set
and continue with our lives, block off the unpleasantness, the
misery. But our armed forces and their families live it, in real
time. COMING HOME gives us a glimpse, a tiny glimpse, of
what our military and their families endure. Kudos to Lifetime for
heartwarming, enlightening, family programming.
Spirit of St. Patrick
Go Bragh! The wearing of the green, Irish tenors singing Oh,
Danny Boy, corned beef and cabbage, green beer, shamrocks and
yes, leprechauns too — St. Patrick’s Day is coming! Seems like
when the world is too much with us, we get this one day to be
lighthearted and carefree, enjoy the merriment of Celtic music,
camaraderie and toasts, or watch in awe at the precision and
spirit of the Riverdancers.
what of the saint responsible for this day? We’ve heard the myth
about St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland. But it’s
just that — a myth — since post-glacial Ireland doesn’t have
and never has had snakes! It’s thought that the snakes symbolize
the Druids, those who worshipped the forces of nature. In many old
pagan religions, serpent symbols were common and often worshipped.
As a missionary, St. Patrick confronted the Druids, abolished
their pagan rites and later converted them to Christianity.
place St. Patrick’s birth in the late 4th century, in
Kilpatrick, Scotland. Two authentic letters written by him provide
most of the universally accepted facts of his life. About the age
of 16, he was captured by Irish marauders, sold to an Irish
chieftain and for six years tended flocks in Ireland. There he
learned about the Irish, their Celtic language and religion. The
years of his captivity were hard and he turned to God for
strength. In his letters, he relates how, in his sleep, he heard a
voice telling him: "You do well to fast: soon you will depart
for your home country," Later, he again heard the voice
telling him to leave his master and get on a ship: "And it
was not close by, but, as it happened, two hundred miles away,
where I had never been nor knew any person. And shortly
thereafter, I turned about and fled from the man with whom I had
been for six years, and I came, by the power of God who directed
my route to advantage (and I was afraid of nothing), until I
reached that ship." Now a young man, Patrick returned to his
family and home in Britain.
his experiences in Ireland, St. Patrick was driven to convert the
Irish to Christianity. He studied in monasteries and returned to
Ireland as a missionary. Legend has it that he baptized more than
120,000 people and founded over 300 churches. The shamrock, a
symbol of St. Patrick’s Day and Ireland, is another story that
recognizes the saint’s use of the clover to explain the
Christian concept of the Trinity – the three leaves representing
the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with the stem representing the
Patrick died on March 17th, in the year now thought to be 493.
This devout, humble man made such an impact on the Christian world
that his life and achievements are celebrated some 1500 years
later, an indelible legacy. Something to reflect upon during the
festivities of his nameday.
was perfection. Tall and lithe, she entered the staged area with a
light, graceful stride, a nonchalance worthy of any supermodel.
On-lookers, impressed by her elegance, described her as an
"inspirational diva." Despite spotlights, cameras and
noisy crowd, her response was quiet and dignified. Little was
known about her before this show except that she slept on a fluffy
bed, has a family tree dating back to the 16th century and prefers
living in a rural setting.
loved the attention her presence drew and focused her attention on
the silver-haired judge approaching her. She never flinched as he
looked into her dark eyes, ran his hands down her sleek body and
checked her bite. Bite? Yes, bite. This is "Hickory" or
Grand Champion Foxcliffe Hickory Wind, the deerhound who won
Westminster Dog Show’s Best In Show—a prestigious
accomplishment in dogdom. Very careful breeding, training and care
were responsible for winning a premier contest where all competing
dogs are champions and ideal standards for their breeds. The
judge, Dr. Paolo Dondino, one of the world’s most accomplished
purebred dog fanciers, described Hickory as "perfect" in
set me to thinking about "perfection" and any
correlation between the human species and the animal world. Since
humankind began, we’ve been searching for perfection, tracing it
through centuries in art forms, government, physical attributes
economy is motivated and profits by consumers’ demand for
services/products specifically designed to promote and then cater
to the desire for perfection: surgical reconstruction of physical
features, cosmetics, clothing, jewelry, cars, jobs, relationships,
etc. Breeders determine standards for perfection in the animal
world but who determines perfection for humans? Scarily, goals for
perfection are not usually ones we determine and set for ourselves
but are crafted by advertising and societal standards for keeping
up with and looking like what used to be the Joneses but is now
the Kardashians. (At least the Joneses were real people we knew!)
Never mind that these images are, basically, manipulated illusions
for those who would follow. We’ve seen what happens when the
pursuit of perfection becomes an obsession; sadly, there are those
who succumb to it as their Master and perish. Who hasn’t heard
or read about starving for the perfect body, drug taking to reach
the perfect state of mind, frenziedly working for the ideal
lifestyle, or the horrific plan for construction of a genetically
perfect Aryan race. I’m thinking that the human attainment of
and working for "perfection" should be a cautionary one.
Consider the phrase "striving for perfection." It
indicates its use as a tool in working toward proficiency and even
to excel, as if perfection is, by definition, not attainable.
as if "perfection" is more easily achieved in the
pedigreed world where it’s a matter of considering the best
factors from each animal for the ideal match. One breeder compares
the ideal animal specimen to the most perfect diamond with the
right color, weight and cut to the right shape. Add nurturing and
training to that and the result is a flawless specimen — like
took that runway with serene confidence and grace. She had all the
components of perfection and she knew it. She reminded me of
someone, but who? And then it came to mind: Suzy Parker — the
’50s actress/model who took the perfection of her beauty and
elegance with the same admirable casualness — a correlation I
never expected to make.
ear-piercing wail shattered the peace around Santa’s chalet at
the Garden’s Mall. "WA-A-A-A! I wanna see Santa," a
child cried and a woman’s agitated voice replied, "We don’t
have time for Santa. I have too much shopping to do." I
turned to see a four or five-year-old girl looking over her
shoulder at Santa as she was hauled away by a package-laden parent
with a cell phone pressed to her ear. I looked at the parents
waiting in line with their children for a keepsake photo with
Santa. Was I imagining this? Very few of the parents were engaged
with their children in sharing this Santa visit and most of the
adults walking about the mall with children were talking on cell
phones and ignoring their attached child-appendages. What’s
happened to us, I wonder, that the holiday season has become so
based on object gathering for an all-too-commercial holiday
instead of enjoyment of all-too-fleeting childhood moments?
prepare for the holiday season. Some of us camp out, for hours or
days, waiting for stores to open. Then we dash to secure that most
popular game/toy/doll of the season before it’s snatched up by
another shopper. We take those prizes home, wrap them and on the
appropriate day, after the frenzy of gift opening is over, we eat
a holiday dinner and then watch sports on TV for the rest of that
day while the kids play with their toys. The holiday is basically
not one to dwell on "the good ol’ days." I know most
of what makes life comfortable today is way better than what we
had years ago. But do you remember the simple holiday customs
families enjoyed? Remember saving money in a Christmas Club
Account during the year and buying those special gifts for loved
ones or the fun of hanging cherished ornaments and tinsel, strand
by strand, on the tree to create the
"best-tree-we-ever-had" and the final touch of perching
a favorite tree-topper ornament? How about the excitement of
leaving cookies and milk for Santa and apples for the reindeer
under the tree and discovering them gone the next morning? Or
taking turns opening gifts, one at a time, and oh-h-ing and ah-h-ing
over each gift? How special it was gathering around a table and
sharing the warmth of belonging, laughter and home cooking.
love and remember those times. I do hope they get to experience
that holiday magic today. It’s what memories are made of.
watched the man atop the cherry picker remove the letters from the
"Home Goods" sign in the North Palm Beach Oakbrook
Square Shopping Center last week and felt a sense of loss. Yet
another business closing and moving. One more change in an
unrelentingly changing world. I took a cell phone photo of the
dismantling and sent it to Daughter. She texted me back,
"Sad." So I wasn’t the only one. I missed the
stability of the world I grew up in, when tomorrow would be the
same as today.
unexpected wave of nostalgia swept me back to Abraham and Strauss,
"Brooklyn’s Greatest Retail Store," on Fulton Street,
to the grand, elliptically-shaped, high-ceilinged central atrium
and its two banks of elevators, bordered by grey and black marble
pillars and walls. Housed in Lalique-styled glass boxes,
twenty-four light indicators, flanked each ornate, Deco-designed,
nickel, brass and bronze elevator. Crowns of Deco-cut mirrors
above the elevators sparkled with reflected light from the
chandeliers. A patterned, marble floor completed the design of
elegance. The atrium was, indeed, a work of art.
each elevator was a uniformed and gloved operator, working the
gate, turning the wheel, adjusting the elevator to the proper
level, announcing each floor in modulated tones: "Third
floor: ladies’ lingerie, hats, shoes — stand back, please,
until the doors have opened. Third floor."
best of all, was the tall, distinguished, elevator supervisor who
signaled the operators when to close their doors, with only his
clicker. Dressed in a soft-colored, major-domo type uniform,
complete with military-type hat and gloves, he moved smoothly from
one elevator to the next, overseeing loading of its passengers.
His demeanor was proprietary and professional as he supervised his
operators. He conveyed a sense of tradition and dependability. I
knew every time I went to A & S, that same man would be there,
in control, insuring shoppers’ safety and comfort. And he was
— for years. That was stability.
was a comfortable constancy about growing up in the ‘40s and ‘50s.Technology
hadn’t reared its intrusive head yet. People didn’t talk to
invisible entities as they walked, shopped, or dined; thumbs weren’t
tapping out messages — it was decades before the debut of
hand-held electronic devices. Businesses ran successfully for
years; store owners knew their clientele by name; most people
lived within their means; the "Made in America" logo was
proudly evident on merchandise.
was a civility and gentility to those years, not obvious and
certainly less practiced today. Permanence and dependability are
no longer givens in this competitive world. For those of us who
experienced that time and way of living, acceptance of today’s
dispassionate business practices comes slowly. But, ultimately, we
concede, for if we are not moving forward, we aren’t just
standing still, we are moving backwards. While we may cling to our
memories of grander places and more genteel times, we accept that
progress is impossible without change. To quote JFK, "Change
is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present
are certain to miss the future."
as I stood in hot sun watching the last letters of the Home Goods’
sign being lowered, in a little corner of my mind and, yes, in my
heart, too, I’m still in Abraham and Straus, captivated by the
style and tradition of the elevator atrium.
seen them. They are legion. And I am one of them. We are The
Condoggers. We live in condos; we have dogs. Hence, Condoggers.
a friendly lot, stopping to pet each other’s dogs, discuss the
hardly-changing Florida temperatures, usually keeping to the
lighter topics of life. We watch our dogs interact, who, for the
most part, reflect their owners’ personalities. They do, you
know. Dogs mirror our personalities and I often wonder if we don’t
choose our dogs not just because we like the way they look, but,
also, because we see something of ourselves in them! Haven’t we
all seen an old dog and its aged owner who, like an old married
couple, resemble each other?
the most part, I enjoy walking my Princess Poodle, Chelsea,
and my granddog, the rascally Miniature Pinscher, Lukie,
subject of "A Furry Tale" Condo News essay.
Chelsea is a prim and proper walker, her delicate neck sensitive
to the slightest directional tug on her leash. Lukie has an
uncompromising neck of steel. To ensure I don’t lose him, I
fashion a leash-noose around my wrist that promises, one day, to
sever hand from arm as he lunges after hapless lizards that scurry
into grasses on his approach. Daughter never listened when I
extolled the virtues of dog training when he was a puppy. He was
hers to cuddle and spoil and, like any indulged child, he assumes
he’s king of the house and reigns supreme outdoors.
times, Lukie listens to Grandma, but where food and prey are
involved, he’s stone deaf. No amount of cajoling or corrective
leash control makes a difference. His stubby, muscular,
Doberman-like body and coloring is alien in Condog World. Condog
people with stuffed-toy type dogs, worriedly consider Lukie’s
approach. He does have a formidable trait — a ridge of fur
stretching from neck to tail that springs upright at the sight of
another dog. His chest puffs out as he assumes a defiant "C’mon,
I Dare You" stance with a deceptive smile featuring a
formidable, albeit small, set of glistening teeth. Truth be known,
he’s a big baby where confrontation is concerned. And Chelsea
has his number. She’s the Alpha Dog and he takes wide berth
around her. If he dares to violate her "Don’t-Come-Near-Me
Zone," Chelsea gives one sharp bark, and turns on her heels.
Sometimes I think I hear her murmur "TWIT" under her
breath, although she’s been admonished to be patient with him.
After all, in dog years, she’s 84 and he’s only a rakish 28!
are, for the most part, responsible dog owners who train their
dogs to respond civilly to other dogs and humans. They pick up
after their pets and keep them in good condition, feeding,
exercising them, and the results of that nurturing are lovable and
condo block has some really sweet condogs: the handsome, blond and
debonair Teddy — a Whoodle (Wheaten Terrier and Poodle
mix), and a lovely, snow-white Maltese, Tiffany, to name
just two, are delightful — the kind of dogs you wish were human
so you could pal around with them. They have Chelsea’s tail-wag
approval though Lukie is still in the "Bet-I-Can-Race-Ya-To-The-Corner"
competitive stage. I’ve no doubt, in time, they will win him
over to be as sociable as they are.
I first contemplated moving to Florida, Daughter, already a
Floridian, would scout out condos for me, encouraging the move
with, " . . . and there are lots of people who walk their
dogs on that block," assuming they were genial people and
dogs whom Chelsea and I would enjoy meeting. And she was right! We
you like me to take your cart to your car?" the silver-haired
bagger smiled at me. "Excuse me?" I must have heard
wrong. "I can take your cart to your car," he repeated.
"Are you new here, ma’am?" he asked. Did I look alien
to Florida? "We take your cart to the car and help you unload
it," he explained. Huh! This was paradise. In New Jersey, no
one ever took my cart to my car and I usually bagged my own
groceries as well. I was already taken aback when I asked for the
location of an item and a supermarket employee actually walked me
over to the shelf and handed it to me. Back home, I got a general
thumb wave toward a food shelf. Seemed as if living in Florida
might just be a good thing.
surely didn’t have that feeling the first week I moved down to
the land of Pump-Your-Own-Gas from the state of Bada-Bing, Bada-Boom.
It’s illegal to pump your own gas in New Jersey and I hadn’t
the least idea how to use my credit card on a gas pump much less
manipulate the gas nozzle to actually send gasoline into the tank.
was a week of discovery all right. I learned that there are no jug
handles on local roads, only u-turns; that anyone with a Jersey
license plate had better replace it quickly with a Florida plate,
just to fit in and not be the recipient of rude hand gestures from
drivers in red pickup trucks. I learned to shop and take the dogs
out early or later in the day or we’d melt faster than an ice
cube on a sidewalk and that the best parking spots are not those
closest to the stores but the ones under shade. The initial shock
of the "Beware of Alligators" signs at Juno’s Pelican
Park Lake walking path has worn off. I’ve assured myself that
Palmetto bugs are like New York City roaches only with overactive
pituitary glands. (Point of information: borax and geckos keep
palmettos away!) And I am, smugly, fully stocked with
"hurricane water" and canned foods, thank you very much.
goodness, but I became a Floridian quickly. After decades of
wearing high heels and suits to work, I donned the "South
Florida Uniform" — tank top, shorts and sandals. Wheee —
how liberating! All the things that northerners love about summer
I now have all year long: turquoise ocean, glorious sunsets,
making reservations instead of dinner and a laid-back life-style.
How great is that! Tanned men wearing Hawaiian shirts, tanned
blond women with finely chiseled features, due to either great
genetics or skilled surgeons, boats traversing the Intracoastal,
miles of colorful, landscaped roadways, the fittingly named Garden
Mall—it’s all eye candy to this Jerseyan.
New Jersey has positive attributes: mountains, beaches, good
schools, The Boss, Greek diners, Bon Jovi, a short ride to
entertainment and Manhattan, but not the notoriety of "The
Sopranos." Somehow, that program and "Housewives of New
Jersey," "Jersey Couture" and "Jersey
Shore," have changed the perception and complexion of an
energetic state with communities of hard-working families who
espouse sound core values and reflect them in their behavior and
accomplishments. What has evolved is a tv-derived stereotype of
loud, crass people who decimate the English language with speech
worse than any Leo Gorcey used in the East Side Kids’ movies.
me a while to make the move to paradise, but I’m glad I did,
hurricanes or not. Do I miss my northern roots — sometimes —
but cold, snow, ice, grey rain, raging taxes?
Dad ... I miss you"
by Tina Chippas
the dappled shade of tall trees, in Middletown, New Jersey, is a
9/11 Memorial Garden that leaves your heart aching, long after the
tears have dried.
9/11, Middletown, New Jersey, suffered "the largest
concentrated death toll" of any place in America —
thirty-seven men and women perished on that day. If you lived in
Middletown, an hour’s ride from Manhattan, you would have seen
the huge plume of smoke and smelled the acrid fumes from the World
Trade Center’s holocaust and you probably know someone who lost
a relative or friend in the horror of that site.
9/11 Memorial Garden is a place of remembrance for those who have
no resting place, where their families may find comfort in the
memory of their lost loved ones. A winding walkway leads into the
shaded park and you are instantly aware of the stillness, a sense
of reverence usually found in religious sanctuaries. It’s quite
evident that this is a special place.
tombstones, engraved with the actual likeness of each lost
resident, follow the pathway. Inscribed on the headstones are
literary quotations, biblical passages or last messages from loved
ones. I read each headstone, seeing some names for the first time
and recognizing others as friends lost in the tragedy. One, I knew
as a young father of a two-year-old and an infant. His widow was
told he was on the way down the staircase and would have been
saved but he didn’t see his mother-in-law who worked on the
floor above him and turned back to find her. They both perished.
She lost her husband and her mother on that day. And that is but
one account of the thirty-seven who were lost.
each mock gravesite, there were written messages and tokens of
love. At one, a letter and baseball were tucked inside a boy’s
baseball cap. The letter read, "Dear Dad, I pitched a good
game and we won. I miss you Dad." On another, a childish
drawing of a colorful birthday cake with too many candles to count
and at the bottom, "Happy Birthday, Mommy. We blew out the
candles for you." Teddy bears, dolls, baby shoes, little
angels, family photographs — mementos from loved ones who still
grieve and hurt. Lives, dreams, families were shattered on that
fateful day, and though the pieces may have come together, those
lives are forever changed.
the memorial site, I spoke with a relative who survived the
attack. She related when she followed the flow of people walking
down the stairs to safety, firemen, with all their gear, were on
their way up. She said, "I can’t forget their eyes ... they
all seemed to be young and blue-eyed and, as they climbed, they
gave encouragement to those leaving, telling us to be calm and
help each other. I had the feeling they knew they weren’t going
to make it out. There was something in each and every face that
told me that. I still dream about their eyes."
man, about fifty, was walking and reading the headstones. He wore
a shirt with the tiny logo, "NYPD. " He said he’d lost
almost all his buddies from the effects of smoke inhalation. He
looked at his wife a short distance away and lowered his voice.
"I don’t know how much longer I have, but I needed to come
here to pay my respects." When I asked him how he coped with
his memories, he smiled. "I always say, don’t look back. We
showed the world what Americans can be — how strangers pulled
together to save people they didn’t know. Didn’t matter what
color or religion they were. That’s our strength as
left Memorial Park filled with sadness for the lives lost, for the
families left behind and with a sense of patriotic pride that my
town had been through the worst and shown its best.
can never forget the magnificent pealing of the church bells as
they echoed through the neighborhood — Brooklyn was a borough of
churches and in Bedford-Stuyvesant, we had one on each corner of
our block and they were all tolling victory. I pressed my forehead
against the window pane, flattening the little flag hanging there,
the one with one gold and two blue stars. I watched as neighbors
leaned precariously from their windows, banging wooden spoons on
pots and ringing dinner bells, school bells or blowing on horns
was September 2, 1945, V-J Day, a day which should have been a
happy one but for my family, it was filled with a numbness, a
feeling that this day came too late for us. Only five months ago,
I had run home from school for lunch. I pressed the button in the
marbled vestibule and waited impatiently for the answering buzz.
It never came. A neighbor, on his way out, opened the door. He
avoided my thanks by ducking out quickly. A knot of neighbors were
congregated on the second landing — truly an unusual sight —
apartment dwellers nodded and smiled, but rarely spoke to each
was stopped by one of them. "Is it true that your brother was
killed?" "No, only wounded; he’ll be home soon,"
I responded, thinking of my second oldest brother recently wounded
in Germany. "She doesn’t know," I heard one of them
whisper. "She thinks you’re talking about the middle
took the next flight, two steps at a time, premonition making my
heard thump anxiously. "Please, God," I prayed silently,
"let everything be all right." I knocked on the
stained-glass door of our apartment; my aunt from New Jersey
opened the door. Why was she here? It wasn’t a holiday. A second
look at her swollen eyes heightened my fears: a terror seized me
and I felt rooted to the spot.
I entered and was drawn to the unnatural silence in the living
room. My mother’s closest friend, Mrs. C., stood uncertainly in
the middle of the room, a wadded handkerchief pressed to her nose.
my eyes rested on what I knew was my mother, but one I didn’t
recognize as the same vivacious, impeccably groomed, pretty woman
that she was. Collapsed on the overstuffed chair, she was still in
her housedress at twelve noon. Head laid back, hair awry, face
swollen and drained of all color, she lay motionless — dry sobs
coming from somewhere deep within her. My brother John’s photo
lay on her lap, his handsome, young face smiled up at her. On the
table, next to the chair, was a shot glass filled with brandy and
the crumbled telegram.
wrong?" a voice not at all like mine whispered. I hoped I was
in the midst of a nightmare, that this wasn’t really happening.
My father gently drew me into the dining room. "John has
died," he said quietly. "No!" I cried. I turned and
flung my arms around him. He smoothed my hair — the braids he
loved. "She’ll be all right," he said, looking at my
mother. "She’ll be all right."
that was five months ago and now it was all over. Now, Peter and
James would be coming home like all the other sons and brothers of
our cousins and friends. Things would change for sure. My brothers
would go into the family business; marriages and babies would
brighten our lives. But that was in the future — I didn’t
know, at nine years old, that life could be better or worse than
it is on any one day that we are feeling joy or sorrow.
turned away from the window in search of my mother, a newly
acquired, anxious habit.
go to Mrs. C.’s," she said, avoiding my troubled eyes. She
still didn’t look like herself. We walked the short block to the
trolley. It was a sunny day, still warm enough for summer, but
with the crispness of fall in the air. We walked without talking,
aware of the joy around us but not a part of it. Trolleys clanged,
cars honked, total strangers embraced, and the bells continued to
peal. We boarded an open-sided Nostrand Avenue trolley and sat
quietly, looking straight ahead. Other passengers boarded, smiles
on their faces, and looked at us expecting similar reactions.
Seeing my mother’s black, mourning clothes, their gazes slid
uncomfortably away, unwilling to allow their joy to be diminished
by another’s pain.
got off the trolley and walked up St. John’s Place. Scents and
aromas floated out store doorways: freshly roasted coffee beans,
Italian spices. We didn’t comment on how good they smelled, as
we usually did. We climbed the steep flight to Mrs. C.’s
apartment. She opened the door — although her son would be
coming home, she felt the pain in her friend’s heart. She opened
wide her arms and welcomed us in.
church bells toll slowly
joyous day, a grey day,
day of hope and sorrow.
mother’s soul rent in two.
first-born, so young, so pure
in foreign soil.
gold star and two of blue.
much to give a country
counts its dead by
bells still peal in the child’s memories.
admit it — I’m a Reality Show Junkie. I am fascinated by the
competition to excel and survive contrived situations, by the
excesses/deficiencies of the real-life cast members and I wonder
why. It’s not as if I’m removed from world affairs — I worry
about the oil spill and the disastrous effects of a company’s
negligence on our environment and wildlife. I’m concerned about
the economic crisis in our country and how our children and
grandchildren, our country, will survive it. I don’t live
vicariously through TV land’s scenes and schemes. I do have
other interesting and worthwhile pursuits in life and I live in a
condominium building! Why then, do some of these
"reality" shows pique my curiosity enough for more than
one minute of viewing?
was mulling this over when a memory from the ’70s surfaced —
that of a diminutive, eighty-nine-year-old woman hurrying though
N.Y.C.’s Port Authority Terminal. I thought I saw Edna on the
bus as we plowed our way through traffic into Manhattan but it
wasn’t until I saw her determined progress through the crowded
terminal I was sure it was she.
eighty-nine, Edna, a retired lawyer, still didn’t know what
"retired" meant. She advised women’s organizations and
supported their progress toward the proverbial "glass
ceiling." Edna wasn’t a bra-burning feminist. She believed
for women to evolve and compete for good jobs with good pay,
creditable educations were pre-requisites and career plans
essential. Edna was a role model, as well, for those of us who’d
abdicated our careers for motherhood. Widowed in her thirties,
with three small children, Edna returned to college and earned her
law degree from Columbia University. Retiring at sixty-five, she
turned to teaching law and devoting time to women’s shelters
helping victims of domestic abuse plan lives outside their scope
of what they could become instead of what they had become. That
day, she was on her way to the U.N. Building to work for women’s
rights on an international basis. Her humanitarian and selfless
determination to help others help themselves was exemplary.
the reality show "Real Housewives of — (city of your
choice)," misnomered "housewives" exemplify
everything Edna was not. They epitomize self-indulgence with
extravagant pursuits extraordinary to our difficult economic times
and engineer problematic situations for which they must apologize
to aggrieved friends and family. Hardly "housewives" as
I knew/know them and certainly not role models for their children
or anyone else’s. Qualities once thought as basic and essential
to our society — honesty, modesty, discretion, loyalty, to name
a few — are ignored. The machinations of their world barely seem
plausible let alone "real" and the dichotomy between
Edna’s goal to make the world a better place and the housewives’
frenetic ambition to buy more, show more is immeasurable.
there are "real" reality shows. On "Top Chef,"
products requiring skill and labor are judged by experts, and who
can deny the teamwork and love Carlo’s "familia"
shares on "Cake Boss." And don’t I wish I had one iota
of "Project Runway’s" designers’ creativity as they
fashion shapeless material into trendy garments — such talent
and determination to excel.
Me or the Dog" — now that’s a show with positive
messages. The spunky Victoria Stillwell tackles unruly canines and
their owners. She teaches understanding, patience, and positive
was swept away the first time I visited a dog park. Literally—off
my feet, on my back. A new dog park had opened. I thought my
daughter’s deranged Min-Pin, Lukie, nee Lucifer, would love the
freedom of a park. I have a Princess Poodle. You won’t find this
breed listed under A.K.C. Chelsea simply was born into the wrong
species—she was meant to be a Princess Human. This red-haired,
canine noblewoman likes to be bathed, groomed and walked in
landscaped parks. In a flood, it’ll be Lukie, on the roof,
barking for the boat to pick him up while Chelsea gracefully poses
on the sofa, waiting for a rescuer’s knock on the door.
knew Chelsea wouldn’t appreciate mingling with the canine
commoners, but I was convinced animated Lukie would. The second we
entered the parking lot, Chelsea looked at me with dismay. Eight
large dogs roamed the enclosure. "You brought me here?"
her eyes reproached me. Lukie’s eyes lit up. "Lemme outta
here!" he panted. "I gotta get out with them big
guys!" (I’ve come to read dog language well.) I could
barely restrain him as he tugged to get past the double gates into
the grassed pen.
unleashed him and he tore off, racing toward his new buddies who
outsized and outweighed him five times over. Chelsea looked at the
mob of bulky creatures as they sniffed Lukie and primly sat down
beside me. "Let me know when you want to leave, Lady,"
she muttered under her breath as she examined her buffed nails.
"Not my milieu here." I shrugged. Her choice to mingle
least Lukie was enjoying himself. He was dancing around the big
dogs, Gene Kelly without the umbrella or rain. Teasing them—darting
away and returning to the posse. "C’mon, ya big sissies.
Whatsamatta, can’t run, huh?" His small, muscular body and
stubby tail wriggled in anticipation. I thought I saw the German
Shepherd raise his brows and nod his head at his comrades.
"Voss is das?" he asked. "It’s a Miniature
Pinscher, Otto, you know, like a small Doberman," a yellow
Lab answered deferentially. "Doberman?" Otto scoffed.
"He iss a joke. Ve don’t play mit him. Tell him to go avay."
The Lab turned to Lukie who smiled, white teeth glistening. "NAAA
NAAA, can’t get me," Lukie taunted. "Big sissies
scared?" "Dot’s itt," Otto shook his fur. "Ve
go. Men, follow me!"
got a headstart. He circled, serpentined, streaked, zigzagged
across the field leading the furry ribbon of dogs. The pack gained
on him. Realizing his tiny stride was no match for his pursuers,
he looked for help. Grandma! At full tilt, Lukie ran toward and
between my legs. So did Otto. I remember how white and fluffy the
clouds seemed as I lay on my back. Owners came to reclaim their
giants. We had provided them with a great show.
limped into my daughter’s house in search of ice for my bruised
body. "Did Mommy’s baby have a good time in the doggy
park?" Daughter cooed to her dog who bore no evidence of his
earlier escapade and seemed eager for his next. "He looks
tired," she reproached me as I tied icepacks to my leg and
arm. "Maybe the dog park was too much for him. He’s such a
timid little guy." Lukie smirked at me. Barely moving his
lips he murmured, "It was a blast, Gram—what are we doin’
Chippas is a resident of SeaMark Condominiums in North Palm Beach,
FL. She has authored an unpublished novel, Affair in Athens,
that narrates her grandfather’s heroic sheltering of Salonika
Jews during WWII.
8, 1922 - July 2, 2011
by Elinor Newcom
to believe she was 89, until you learn that she was a WAAC in WWII.
in New Jersey, with a Master’s Degree in Library Science, one of
her jobs was with then Governor of NJ, Robert Meyner, who appointed
her to the State Library. Her next position was that of reference
librarian of the NJ Law Library. She managed to find time to be a
free lance writer for the Jewish Standard, as well.
addition to National Council of Jewish Women, Rebecca was active in
B’nai B’rith, Hadassah, Democratic Club, Yiddish Culture Club,
and Congregation Anshei Shalom here in West Palm. She also initiated
a monthly book club at the Okeechobee Branch Public Library.
included crossword puzzles, bridge, and scrabble. An active
researcher, she took on the publicity chair of Hadassah, educating
and informing readers. After several years of articles published in
the UCO Reporter, many columns were contributed to the
Condo News for more than five years, usually featured on the
quietly with breast cancer, Rebecca used her energy to deal with
husband Sy’s final illness. They had a son who died too young, and
in her will, the National Psoriasis Foundation was mentioned in his
memory. Ruth Katz, a niece in New York, would appreciate
contributions to anyone’s favorite charity. Her address is 1273
North Avenue, #6D4, New Rochelle, NY 10804.
note: Rebecca Lutto wrote her first essay for the
Condo News on January 13, 1999, entitled "My Historic
Wedding." Essay of the Week began with her essay on January 20,
1999, entitled "Have Simcha, Will Travel." Mrs. Lutto
continued to write her wonderful essays virtually every issue until
her final Essay on April 21, 2010, entitled "For Love or Money
— But Not For Muscles." Then, on January 12, 2011, she
contributed one final article entitled "Volunteer Brings
Children’s Chorus to Century Village." The staff of the
Condo News extends our sympathies to family and friends of
Rebecca Lutto. She will be sorely missed.
Love or Money —
Not For Muscles
What relationship does the new Health Care Law have to the type of
fellow your daughter, grand daughter or great–grand daughter
might choose to love and/or marry?
answer, if you believe in such things, lies in the studies done by
professors, psychologists and social scientists. Their research
shows that women in developed countries with generous government
health care, like Belgium and Sweden, are changing the prehistoric
Paleolithic preference for he-men and now choose to marry the more
gentle and understanding "metro-sexuals."
same research shows that women in less-developed nations like
Mexico and Bulgaria still prefer the strength and masculinity that
cave men needed in order to attract cave women.
scientists tested young women in thirty countries and asked which
face in photographs they preferred. (Actually, the two photos were
of the same man, but had been changed slightly by computer
software, either to "masculinize" the face, or
"feminize" it.) Presto! The women’s preference for
either kind of man is revealed.
victory for evolutionary psychology – another reason why a girl
in Mombasa may prefer a gold miner and a model in Paris marries a
ballet dancer. They each want the best for their children.
women in both camps want healthy children, but the women in the
poor countries know that health care is primitive or non-existent
and pestilence is likely. So they may prefer a hunk, even though
in all groups such bruisers are believed to be less interested in
child-rearing and more likely to be uncooperative, unsympathetic
and more likely to beat them or their children.
tests did not include economic questions, but it seems reasonable
to assume income is a factor. As girls in advanced countries are
now likely to have college degrees and high-paying jobs, they no
longer need to marry for money – or for at least a livelihood.
are more likely than women to have lost jobs in the current
recession. That leaves the wife/mother of the family often the
sole breadwinner, and the husband at home caring for the children.
it possible to find a strong, sexy man, a good earner but also
gentle and sympathetic in the same person? The Wall Street Journal
quotes Zsa Zsa Gabor on the subject: "I want a man who’s
kind and understanding. Is that too much to ask of a
Rest Stops — Unneeded or a "Necessary"
state of Arizona has closed 13 out of 18 of its highway rest stops
to save the $300,000 a year it costs to run each one.
all the cost-cutting and fee-raising steps that Arizona has taken
to close its huge budget gap, this one has raised the most
ferocious hue and cry from the citizenry. My guess is that the
loudest protest of this deprivation of a facility necessary to
everyone — toilets — has come from its many elderly
South Florida retirees know all too well that with every passing
year our need for the "necessaries" grow. I notice that
here the homes are more likely to have multiple bathrooms than
problems of scarce facilities in public places is not new,
especially in crowded buildings such as theaters. In New York
City, with its many legitimate theaters, there are controversies
over the fact that men’s and women’s rest rooms are equal in
availability, while women need them more. What with tight
pantyhose and possibly other unmentionables, women can make a
claim for more facilities than men. Various patchwork solutions
are now used, such as unisex rest rooms.
closing of rest stops is not the only restriction on motorists and
roads that legislatures have mandated. How about strict
driving-while-impaired (drugs and alcohol) laws, the ban on use by
drivers of cell phones, computers and televisions? How about being
required to wear a seat belt – especially where we live –
driving laws have the purpose of saving lives. What does the
rest-stop closings do – require us to wear diapers?
if this should come to pass, would the late night comedians have,
in addition to their usual aged Florida driver jokes, additional
fodder, such as this. "Have you been following the story of
this female astro-nut? She drove 900 miles from Houston, Texas, to
Orlando, Fla., to confront the woman who was her romantic rival.
She drove the whole time wearing a diaper so she didn’t have to
make a rest stop. She went to court yesterday and was released in
her own incontinence."
Lady Weighs in on Fat Children
a year as a mere White House hostess and stay-at-home mom,
Michelle Obama has chosen her field of "celebrity
is childhood obesity.
that she is merely a celebrity, such as a show-biz luminary. She
has semi-official clout. When she calls a conference with people
who can help her with her cause, the message is not thrown into
important waste baskets. The invitation, after all, it is not just
to her house, but to the White House – the people’s
Obama did not choose an easy or non-controversial cause, such as
Laura Bush’s campaign for literacy (a natural for a former
librarian) or Lady Bird Johnson’s beautification of our
landscape. Alas, opponents are already hollering "nanny
state" and corporations and huge food industry associations
are hiring lobbyists.
may also be a source of loud resistance. Some have already
complained about notices from school that their children are
overweight. Who likes criticism? Especially not overburdened moms
the "stamp out child obesity" cause has many supporters
and even a happy fiscal ending, according to a Wall Street Journal
editorial. This rare Journal approval of Michelle Obama’s
program notes that, if successful, this would greatly lower
medical costs in the United States. The editorial notes that
federal spending due to obesity increases our tax burden by 36
percent for Medicare and 47 percent for Medicaid.
mostly non-debatable initiative featured in the First Lady’s
plan is her call for increased physical activity by children. Ms.
Obama cites the health value of walking or biking to and from
school and more playtime and facilities for outside activity both
at home and in schools. She advocates safe walkways and crosswalks
at intersections so that students can use them safely.
President Obama, tall and lean, sets a good example for his wife’s
goals. When President William Howard Taft was inaugurated in 1909
he was 6 feet tall and weighed more than 300 pounds, the largest
man to ever serve as president. His First Lady, Helen Herron Taft,
did not need to choose a pet project to tout publicly; it was not
the custom then.
Michelle Obama starts off with an advantage, a thin spouse. Could
she fight fat as Mrs. Taft? Hardly likely.
the Love of Pasta
reader, do you remember family mealtimes before 1965 when
spaghetti was on the menu?
were the dark days when kids in highchairs tried to eat the
much-loved Italian delicacy but most of it landed on the child,
the chair or the walls.
1965 a parent-liberator invented a new toddler-friendly shape of
pasta: Spaghetti Os. Donald Goerke, the inventor of the
doughnut-shaped version intended for children, died recently at
83. He was a retired marketing manager at Franco-American, a
division of the Campbell’s Soup Company.
mission was to design an incarnation of spaghetti that would
withstand canning and reheating, and that children could eat
without creating a battlefield-like scene in American homes. The
shapes that were rejected included baseballs, cowboys, spacemen
1965 Spaghetti Os have become a standard item in American
pantries. More than 150 million cans are sold each year. My guess
is that a few million cans are sold to adults who could never
learn to twist the original limp strands on a fork, as gourmets
do. (Some restaurants give diners who order spaghetti a bib to
that Spaghetti Os and their competitors have saved many a kitchen
and dining room, we can go back to thinking of pasta as a food –
equally esteemed by both gourmands and nutritionists.
as cheese is consecrated as "milk’s leap to
immortality," so pasta represents the apotheosis of flour and
water. Gourmets and prize-winning chefs will argue eternally about
which shape goes with which sauce, but both agree on its
adaptability and infinite ability to combine with a thousand other
foods to delight eaters.
are enough shapes and sizes of pasta to fill a small dictionary.
Most of the names are in Italian, and describe the shape of the
objects outside the kitchen that they resemble. Some examples are
macaroni (tubes or cylinders), fusilli (swirls), and lasagna
names may be Italian, but some form of pasta is served worldwide,
from Brazil to Hong Kong. In Italian, all pasta names are plural,
so let’s get together and tie on our spaghetti bibs. Buon
of 2013 Attire: A Barrel
will current college freshman (class of 2013) wear? If the
recession and business losses continue, quite possibly a barrel
held up by suspenders.
to a recent survey of 297 campuses, this year’s freshmen saw
dollar signs in every facet of college choice, career goals and
life on campus. Concern for the financial side of a college
education was the highest it has been since the Nixon
of us who remember the role of higher education in America before
World War II should not be shocked by the survey numbers. In the
1920s college students appeared to be less interested in quantum
physics than in football games that they attended wearing raccoon
coats and packing flat flacons of bootleg liquor and waving
banners touting their college team.
course a few "have-nots" managed to earn a degree
without a raccoon coat or even a decent roof over their heads. The
teenage Ronald Reagan arrived at his college with no money and
presented himself to the school’s president, who was impressed
by the tall, strapping youth. He arranged for Reagan to sleep in a
college out-building and work to pay for his tuition and other
impression of the 1930s was of the subway commuters in New York
City who were privileged to attend City College or Hunter College
with tuition free. Since I lived in the New Jersey boondocks (as
my New York relatives called the area), those schools were not
available to me.
route to college was unlike Ronald Reagan’s. I took the
statewide exam for high school graduates and did well. This gave
me tuition at a state school ($200 for a college year). For room
and board, I lived with a family as a babysitter and dishwasher.
There was also some salary: one dollar a week for a bus pass.
and I date from the days of a rough road to college for un-rich
kids. Before the GI Bill, before federal grants and many other
scholarships – and before college loans that are easy to accept
but hell to pay back.
about some federal aid for repayment of college loans – similar
Correct White House Dining
White House state dinner for the Prime Minister of India and his
wife was a first for the Obama presidency.
was also remarkable for its size (320 guests), which necessitated
that it be held on the White House lawn in a tent.
menu, which encompassed varied religious, ethnic, political,
gastronomic and environmental restrictions and celebrations, can
be studied like an ancient parchment.
the guests of honor are religious vegetarians. So, although the
dinner was meatless, it did include a dish derived from animals:
prawns. Prawns are similar to shrimp; both are shellfish.
Hindu religion forbids the eating of animals. Are shellfish not
animals? This religious "definition" reminds me of
definitions of foods in the Jewish religion. The eating of
shellfish is forbidden in strict Judaism, but fish with fins are
nod to tradition in Jewish food rules is honey. The land of
"milk and honey" had few available sweeteners in
Biblical times and the science of food chemistry was, of course,
unknown. So, assuming that honey was only "housed" by
the bees who brought it to the hive from their source in blossoms,
the Ancients assumed they were of plant origin.
a nod to the current rage for kitchen gardens and local farmers’
markets, there was White House arugula and honey at the state
dinner. The culinary heritage of the hosts was indicated by chick
peas, okra and collard greens.
considering the complexity of selecting the foods, the Obama White
House cannot be criticized for a few minor slips. While the hosts
were concentrating on the religious, bipartisan, diversity and
health restrictions of the menu, they can be forgiven for a
security boo-boo: allowing a couple of party-crashers in.
Bunker vs 'Sex and the City'
I heard that Archie Bunker’s armchair had been given the honor
of placement in the Smithsonian Institution, my eyes were opened
to the importance of popular culture.
was Archie, who worked on a loading platform and personified
American blue-collar workmen in the television sit-com "All
in the Family" raised to historic stature. His chair, which
he wouldn’t let anyone else sit on, became a revered icon,
because that is what it symbolized to him.
appropriate as it was to consecrate Archie’s chair to signify
Archie’s status as king of his castle, choosing Carrie Bradshaw’s
laptop computer for the Smithsonian seems to me less suitable.
impression I take away from "Sex and the City" is that
of recreational sex in a glittering city, namely New York City’s
suave reaches of Manhattan where no one needs to look at price
tags or the right side of a menu.
Smithsonian curator who selected Carrie’s laptop for the museum
says, "The laptop is an iconic prop symbolizing Carrie as a
chronicler of contemporary society." He justifies Carrie’s
historic role by adding, "She represents the latest stage in
the progression from Lucy Ricardo and Mary Tyler Moore — and
more broadly, the evolution of the role of women in America."
chair, dark and threadbare, seems at home in a museum of history.
It bears the patina of dust and long use, comfortable in the same
repository with the desk on which Thomas Jefferson wrote the
Declaration of Independence and Abraham Lincoln’s top hat.
to represent "Sex and the City," I nominate a pair of
Manolo Blahnik shoes.
by Stanley Shotz
Shotz is a journalist residing in West Palm Beach, Florida.
first recollection that I had as a youngster, of Memorial Day, was the
several men that appeared in our assembly at school each year and
talked about Americanism and patriotism. One wore a strange
wide-brimmed, tasseled hat and was introduced as being a veteran of
the Spanish-American War and the other much younger man was introduced
as having been in the big war in France. There was, too, a much older
veteran dressed in blue, who had fought in the War Between The States.
next thing that I can recall is how there was a parade that went past
my house to the cemetery a few streets away. School was closed that
day. In the parade, along with a bugle and drum corps, marched a whole
group of men in dark blue uniforms and all were either shouldering
rifles or carrying flags. After a few speeches, the men lined up and
aimed their guns over the tombstones that all had wreaths on them and
fired several volleys. These, I was told, were members of the American
Legion and they performed this act of remembrance anywhere that a
veteran was buried.
the road running through the area known as Mt. Desert Island is a
stand of trees that rises over 40 feet high. It is at a spot just a
few minutes ride to Bar Harbour, Maine. As I walked this area and
noted the old farm houses along the way, I also noticed a few marble
and granite markers wedged between the trees about 50 feet in from the
two lane rural roadway. This was the family burial yard of the Mayo
family that had settled in the area before the days of the Civil War.
The land must have been almost barren during that period, for now, the
trees were lifting the stones and toppling them as the trunks grew
thicker and fought to take up all the available ground.
names and dates on some of the stones were still legible and by
reading them you could document the marriages and history of the
family. The Mayo family outnumbered the other stones and there was one
stone with the name of Capt. Thomas Richardson. The etching on the
stone stated quite simply ... "Drowned at Sea." Next to it
was the grave site of the Mayo daughter that had married him, only to
have buried the Captain shortly after, at his age of 24.
few yards away, a stone lying flat on the ground and almost hidden by
the brush had the simple inscription - Joseph Mayo USN. There was some
kind of flat object partly buried in the soil and it was attached to a
long spike. The emblem had the shape of the Maltese Cross and was made
of bronze and embossed on the one side were the words;
"Department of Maine" "Post 108" and the letters
G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic)
I discovered, was the burial site of a Civil War veteran. Many years
had passed since those in the community took note of the significance
of the plot of land that was part of the Mayo family farmyard.
Overgrown with brush and weeds, stifled by the crush of giant maple
trees, no one walks by, no one remembers the site. The Mayo and
Richardson families have moved away and the land is now owned by the
operators of the Barcadia Campground. This portion remains undeveloped
and plans for the campground expansion are far in the future.
Throughout rural America, many families created their own burial
grounds and here in a world renowned resort still lies the remains of
two veterans of a war.
the approach of Memorial Day this year, veterans will again pay
tribute to their fallen comrades. There will be observances of the Day
in France, England and the Far East. There will be ceremonies at
Arlington, Gettysburg, Vicksburg and Harpers Ferry and in thousands of
cemeteries across our country. There will be no marching of men to the
spot where Joe Mayo and Thomas Richardson rest, there will be no
ceremonies or speeches; no American flag will be placed on the site
and the red white and blue bunting will be missing. I will stop for a
moment and offer a silent prayer for all the Joseph Mayos of the
world. The rifles will not be fired over their tombstones for as with
many of our departed servicemen whom we have forgotten-there will be
no taps for Joe Mayo.
the phone rings about 2 A.M. you know it can’t be good news. This
time it was a neighbor of their dad calling from more than 1000
miles away. They never met her but had heard her name being
mentioned many times over the years on the phone. She was frantic!
"You better get down here right away and take care of what is
going on with your father!" That was a shocking wake up edict
in the middle of the night.
father had moved to the sunshine state a few years ago with their
Mom. It was their retirement dream — the golden years of their
lives, to loaf away in the luxury of a beach front condo. It lasted
awhile. The dances, the parties, the cruises and the annual
too-short visits with the children, when they traveled up north. His
wife of 50 years plus passed away after a brief illness and left him
with all the good and bad memories and very few friends and family
to share them with.
he was a good sport, and after an extended period of mourning, he
joined with his few friends in the life of the singles. The golf and
card playing; the early-bird dinners; the movies — he joined in
with his few male friends. His apartment was furnished beautifully
and he kept the one guest room all neat, unused and ready for any
guest that might want to visit for a few days or a few weeks. Seldom
did anyone visit however, the telephone seemed to be the best way to
keep in touch.
three sisters and their brother arrived the very next day after the
2 A. M. call. The scene was not to be as it was on their last visit.
The place was a mess. Piles of old newspapers, a stack of mail,
unwashed dishes and the odor of a closed-up home was what greeted
them as they opened the door. Pop was sitting in front of the TV and
scarcely realized that his children had come into the room.
didn’t take much more for them to realize that their father had
gotten to the point in life where he could not care for himself and
to continue to live alone. As the morning went on, the discussion
was entirely focused on what were they to do with him now.
decision was reached. Dad had to be moved somewhere else that would
now become his home. There would be the disposing of the family
keepsakes, the packing of his clothes and selling off the condo and
the contents. But first things first! What shall we do with Dad?
None of the 4 children could accommodate him in their homes. With
everyone working, the grandchildren in school and the thought of Dad
coming back to the cold winters again in the north; they decided
that he needed to be in a nearby facility that was for the elderly
there they were, that same day standing in the offices of the nearby
home, with the social worker, listening to the description of what
would be available for their father. Everything seemed to be
spinning at double speed throughout the entire next few days. Who
has the time to dawdle and compare? This was an interruption of
their individual routines and all four wanted to conclude this
unwanted task as quickly as possible and get back to their personal
to them, however, was the fact that they actually were making the
best, and no doubt, the proper decision for their father. As the
admission clerk described the meals, the recreational offerings and
medical care etc. that would be available, they stood stone faced
and rigid as they thought about what was to be the end of their
precious family circle. It was then that the tears began to flow as,
no doubt, each thought of their relationship with their Dad coming
to such a sudden, and yet necessary, conclusion. After winding up
most of the details of the move over the next few days, the foursome
agreed to pay their Dad a parting visit before heading to the
airport for their evening flight.
they entered his room, they saw that the staff had decorated what
they had previously viewed as a barren room. On several walls, they
had placed a couple of the favorite paintings that Dad had done in
the condo art classes.
the windows, someone had pasted several of the stained glass birds
and flowers that Dad had been so proud of, which he too had made at
the Condo. On the window ledges were the framed pictures of the
whole family which had been part of his former living room decor. On
the dresser for him to always enjoy, was that last framed family
picture taken on his fiftieth wedding anniversary with Mom and all
the children gathered around them. ... But their father was no where
to be seen.
on the bed was a colorful folder describing the activities for the
residents for that week. It mentioned that, at this hour, something
was going on in the Social Hall. They took the elevator back to the
lobby floor and went looking for him in the Social Hall. There he
was, sitting with dozens of people, playing Bingo. He agreed to have
lunch with them in the cafeteria, but couldn’t spend too much
time, since he had promised several men to play poker for a few
hours. Then he had to make ready for the Sabbath because they held a
service in the Chapel on the eve of the Sabbath and Dad volunteered
to say some of the blessings and lead in the reciting of the
prayers. It was always the highlight of the week when Dad took us to
Temple and did that when we were kids.
was a new life for him! Activities, friends, care and a life with
dignity were to continue be his. The relief that came upon them was
quite visible on their faces as they went to the airport, to head to
different destinations. They pledged to each other that they would
visit Dad often in his new home and to call him frequently. He would
— The Unknown Holiday
signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1,1863 declared
"slaves within any State, or designated part of a State ...
then in rebellion ... shall be then, thence forward , and forever
free." The States affected were enumerated in the proclamation;
specifically exempted from the Emancipation, were slaves in parts of
the Southern states then held by the Union armies. Previously, about
nine months before, on March 13,1862, Lincoln issued orders which
forbade Union army officers from returning fugitive slaves. Liberty
was thereafter conferred on just over one million blacks. It was
then with the enactment of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in
1865, that slavery was abolished throughout the nation.
June 19,1865, Maj. General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston and
issued a general order declaring the end of slavery in Texas. It had
been nearly 30 months since President Abraham Lincoln issued the
executive order which had provided for all slaves.
see, we’ve been kind of slow down here in Texas", stated one
of the residents who is a 3rd generation descendant of East Texas
slaves. "As Texans, Juneteenth has always had a special meaning
for us," she said. "It’s a pity the day is increasingly
losing its significance and has become an inconsequential day marked
by partying, food and drink." To her husband, a painter, the
success of the Cosby television family represents everything he
would like his family to have one day. That’s my ideal and it’s
also my dream for my piece of the American dream. For me, Juneteenth
is one of those dates in the black experience when I like to take a
hard look at where I used to be as against where I’m now."
general feeling of some native Texans is that the significance of
Juneteenth is gradually being lost. It may be happening according to
some, because more non-Texas blacks are moving in and it may be
happening because memories are fading. The celebration goes on
throughout the community as many still celebrate June 19th as a
wonderful day in the history of black Texans. One student, studying
at Richland College said, "When I first heard of Juneteenth, I
wondered what it was all about, but after talking with my friends at
school and hearing what my parent had to say, the day now has
definite meaning to me."
some areas of the nation, Dallas and Denver as examples, the
celebration has become marred with violence and confrontation with
police. The observance first began in black communities of the
South, and blacks carried the tradition with them when they moved
north and west. The five day festival often ends with a
gospel-singing festival and church services. During the five days -
food booths, along with official activities and a "country
fair" atmosphere, sets the mood of the holiday.
"Unknown Holiday" continues each year as a segment of
America acknowledges each June, of the announcement of their
freedom. To the Texas blacks, it is the greatest of their holidays
and is far more relevant to them than any of the past developments
in Selma, Birmingham or the marches in Washington D.C. The news
services across the South recite the stories of individual families
and their history of financial and educational progress since those
days of the Emancipation.
Shotz, is an accredited Journalist and resides in Cypress Lakes,
West Palm Beach Fla. His articles frequently appear in
the Condo News.
it’s the Eggman at the door!" That statement was heard every
Thursday afternoon in our home. It was the weekly scheduled visit by
the man who brought to our door, fresh eggs, butter, chickens and
other products from a Jersey farm. This I recall, was the way many
families purchased fresh foods from either a friend or relative who
business as the sole operator of a Butter and Egg route.
Uncle Sam, owned an old Chevy car. He had converted the opening in
the back instead of the rumble seat into a small cargo trunk affair.
Each Thursday he made his way from North Philly area to a Vineland,
New Jersey town and loaded his car with farm products that he bought
at less than retail prices.
then returned to the city and went on his route of people that
expected him each week. Our order was usually for a dozen eggs, a
fresh killed chicken and a half pound of sweet butter. Sometimes my
mother added to the order more eggs if a holiday was approaching.
Uncle Sam was the news carrying gossiper of the family as he sat and
drank his coffee and told us what was going on with the rest of the
clan. When it was time to pay him for the goods, he pulled from his
pocket a roll of paper money secured by a rubber band. It appeared
to me, that there must have been zillion dollars in his hand earned
from his prosperous business. Of course there were weeks that he
gave us his wares but left with Mom’s promise to pay him, the next
was through our Eggman that we heard of who was having a baby, who
was sick, out of work and who had found a job. These were the
depression years and few of the family had a telephone. This was our
weekly update on what was the latest news within our family. In
later years I learned that most families had a family member or
friend that was their Eggman.
we had family gatherings, a wedding or party of any kind there was
always the outstanding, prosperous and probably the only car owner
that was the Eggman of the crowd. He was the one that was at ease
with everyone and smoked the big cigar and he tipped all the people
that served him. The men gathered around him and heard of his great
exploits and business smarts. He was in every ones opinion the most
successful of the family and surely the only one with steady income.
As youngsters, he represented to us, in depression days, a business
leader of our community.
this personal farm service has disappeared from our routine in favor
of the big community super markets we are left with the memories of
those pioneers of self employment opportunities. The tittle of
"Big Butter and Eggman" is often heard around the condo
pools. This is a title that is whispered among the listeners of the
"big shot" who considers himself to be the leading person
of the group presently gathered. You know the type, he has bought
it, owned it, seen it, been there and has it. We have
to take his word for it! After all, he regards himself as today’s
- Big Butter and Eggman.
Good Ole Days
indeed! I was one of the sharpest kids on the block. Why you just
couldn’t "hangout" with the gang unless you had wheels.
Now you already have the impressions that we all owned a
"hot-rod" or "hard-top" or even better, a
convertible. Hey No ! That isn’t what we called wheels!
am going to describe to you my generation’s means of moving around
had to have a "Skatemobile," and for your enlightenment
this is how you put together a 1932 model of that now defunct
vehicle which has gone the way of the Hupmobile and the Henry J and
then too, the powerhouse Hudson.
most important part to obtain was one real ball bearing Chicago
brand roller skate, no substitutions and no off-brands would be
acceptable by the crowd. With your skate key you could separate the
front wheels from the back part and have two sections. You then
looked down in the cellar of your house and you could usually locate
a piece off the back fence that was supposed to end up as kindling
in the furnace on a cold morning. This three inch wide board had to
be about three feet long and about one inch thick.
would become the chassis of your vehicle and on each end you
securely nailed a section of that roller skate I mentioned. For all
appearances, today this would have been called a
"skateboard", but it was much longer and still had some
details to be added. On the end you wanted to designate for the
"front end", you had to nail a wooden box , the kind your
grocery had left over from a shipment of apples. The real neat and
sharp guys, ( I was one of them) used a discarded orange crate. This
provided a ready made shelf when it was attached in a vertical
position. Wow! When those guys went to the store to get the
newspaper or a 10-cent loaf of bread, they were able to put it on
the shelf instead of holding it in their hand. This left one hand
for holding onto the box and the other was free for waving at the
could put one foot on the board and by holding onto the box and then
pushing with the other foot, get down to the corner in half the time
it would take to walk. After getting up some speed you could place
the pushing leg on the board, too. Just the same way kids on the
skateboards do it now, you were a real classy mover.
got so, at times, you couldn’t find a place to park your
Skatemobile in front of the candy store (later called cigar stores)
and it was especially rough after school hours and on Saturdays
after the movies let out.
of the guys were allowed out after dark, maybe their parents didn’t
nag them to stay in and do their homework. You could spot their
Skatemobiles real easy; they had taken a tin can from a trash
barrel; and it was nailed onto its side on top of the apple or
orange crate. Inside the can was a candle and when they lit it after
dark, it illuminated the street so that they could see where they
were going (it really didn’t light up anything). However, it
showed us who the kids were that were allowed to use matches. I was
not able to install that "option ", since I was not
allowed to light matches or mess with fires. I used to be able to,
but that was before I set our house on South 3rd Street on fire back
in 1928 while hunting around our dark basement for some toys -- with
a lit candle.
have real wheels now, well, in fact, everyone on this block has one
or even two of them. The styles have changed, but you still can’t
seem to find a place to park it anyplace when the movies let out on
For a Penny
around these days, of men that are now senior citizens, of the
source of their income during the depression days becomes a sad
recollection for most. Allowances were just a few nickels a week and
were supposed to be enough for lunch in the school cafeteria.
describe their earning a few coins by running errands for neighbors
and of course some delivered newspapers and cut lawns and in winter
shoveled sidewalks. A few had the opportunity of working in their
Dad’s store or shop. I too needed to fund my own expenses and I
became a businessman at the age of thirteen. Mom, my older brother
and I lived during that time in an apartment, a scant two blocks
from one of the subway stations in our city.
every afternoon, hundreds of workers from center city came rushing
through the turnstiles when they exited the subway at that subway
station. To me it was an opportunity to sell something to the
throngs as they rushed home from a long day at work.
went to a wholesale candy store a few blocks away and purchased a
large box containing one hundred and twenty small Hershey bars. The
box cost me 30 cents and I figured I could sell them at 2 for a
stood at the turnstile each afternoon from 4 to 6pm since my school
let out at 3:30 pm. Soon I began to hop on the subway cars and I
rode for several stops. Roaming though each car selling the
passengers a welcome treat and then I returned to my local station.
made friends with the lady cashiers at that station enabled me to
have free rides on the trains every day. In fact, they even had me
come by their homes on weekends for lunch.
went on for about two years and we then moved away from the subway
station and that lucrative business opportunity.
we stand at the threshold of a new year, the will of people and
nations for peace and freedom seems to have no limits.
as the year 2009 passed, it brought us a world whose face, and whose
governments and whose politics were changing; but as they did, we
witnessed the possibility of confrontation and the realization that
mistrust and aggression are still with us. This realization hit
hard, as once again in our lifetime American men and women are being
pressed into service for the cause of justice.
prayers are with them at this time. The never ending strife in the
Middle East, our war with Iraq and the election of the first
Afro-American in the history of the United States of America will
find their place in our memories of the year 2009.
only a short period into the 21st century, it is remarkable to think
of how timeless and unchanging humanity’s most cherished ideas
have been. The desire for peace, kindness and freedom bind us
together with people everywhere for we share the same concern for
our time and the same visions of a future with nations across the
world as we look for a life without strife.
as we go into this new year 2010 and this new season, let us
celebrate the spirit of peace and take solace in the fact that we
are joined by so many around the world. If we as nations, and
people, each make peace within our hearts, peace and understanding
on earth may be at hand.
did depression kids manage to get along during those "good
old days?" Few are around today to tell of some of their
experiences of 75 years ago. They were the years from about 1930
and into 1940 that brought changes into almost every home in our
town. For most people, there was the need to move into different
homes and acquire different life-styles from what we had become
accustomed to as youngsters. I, for one, moved with my mother and
older brother to a small apartment from a 3 bedroom house. My
little sister moved in with our grandmother a few blocks away.
the afternoon, I delivered a paper route six days a week. The
evenings were taken up with homework, and it was Friday nights and
Saturdays that gave me the freedom to hang out with the guys.
"hangout headquarters" was in front of the corner candy
store just next door from our place. If you were lucky, you could
earn a few nickels by going to someone’s home nearby when they
were called to answer a call on the public phone in the store.
They had to give you a tip or they wouldn’t be called in the
future if they were stingy and left you empty handed. It could
rain, sleet and snow, but we were there to make small talk and
resolve all the problems facing the world. The owner of the store
was always hoping that we would come in and spend a few cents. For
that reason, we were seldom chased away, and then too, the person
called to the phone might buy some small item while in the store,
to show their appreciation for getting called.
night was something special for us poor kids on the corner, for we
would be huddled in the cold weather, stomping our feet, but too
lonely to just go home. This was before the days of TV. At the
next corner was a missionary store. It was just a regular 2 story
house with store front windows that were covered with curtains.
The family lived in the back of the house and on the second floor.
The first floor area had rows of wooden folding chairs arranged
with a center aisle.
I recall, there was seating for about 30 people. At the furthest
end of the store was an elevated platform and rostrum. In the rear
of the place was a kitchen with stove and sink. Hanging on the
wall behind the platform was a wooden cross and a large picture of
8 PM on Saturday night, some of the poor in the neighborhood
drifted in along with the bunch of fellows that I was hanging out
with on the next corner. We all sat and got warm during the one
hour sermon. It was a relief to get into a place that was heated
and provided a bathroom and refreshments. Finally, prayer and
eventually the singing portion for the service ended. On a table
at the side of the podium was a large table and on it a plate with
donuts piled on it. All through the service I stared at the donuts
for they represented the only delicacy that I would have all week.
The smell of hot coffee began to permeate the room and we became
restless as the hour seemed to drag on and on.
the preacher’s wife would enter the room carrying a large pot of
hot coffee. It seemed like forever that we finally came to the
closing prayer. The minister talked on and on, while we sat and
stared at the donuts on the table. We finally were able to rush to
the table in the room and we all reached out to grab the day-old
donuts that was the reward for our listening to the Gospel. The
minister each week was able to get those stale donuts from the
local bakery at little or no cost. The fact that they were a
little harder than fresh and all the same type did not lessen
their appeal to us kids and adults alike.
coffee was strong, no milk and no sugar was served, but that donut
was a gift from heaven for those of us that had the patience to
wait. It made no difference to many of us who were of different
religions. The donut and warmth of the room were ample
compensation for the hour of listening. I returned week after
week, for the donut.
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